Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will lay off 1,500 unionized employees at its assembly plant in Windsor, Ont. as the automaker phases out production of the Dodge Grand Caravan.
On Thursday, the Italian-American automaker notified Unifor of its plans to cut the third shift at the plant as of June 29. It will phase out the minivan at the end of May to “align volumes with demand,” FCA spokeswoman Lou Ann Gosselin said in an emailed statement.
“The company will make every effort to place indefinitely laid off hourly employees in open full-time positions as they become available based on seniority and will offer retirement packages to eligible employees,” the statement said.
The move comes after FCA announced plans to merge with France’s PSA Group in December. Executives promised not to close any plants in the merger.
“In the merger there will be no affect on production in Ontario,” FCA chief executive Mike Manley said at the time.
Approximately 4,500 workers will remain in Windsor after the cuts. The plant will continue to make the Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Chrysler Voyager.
FCA first announced plans to eliminate the third shift in March 2019. But it delayed the downsizing after outrage and disappointment from Unifor, which at the time was also grappling with the closure of the General Motors Co. assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont.
No cuts have been proposed at FCA’s plant in Brampton, Ont., where 3,400 workers build the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger.