No Downtime or Layoffs for Chrysler's Canadian Facilities, says CAW President

October 30, 2008, 12:59 PM EST

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Leaders from the National CAW, and the Chrysler sector of the union, held a business update meeting with senior executives from Chrysler's North American manufacturing division this morning in Windsor.

The meeting was a regular quarterly business update that had been scheduled several weeks ago. The CAW and Chrysler hold these meetings on a quarterly basis.

No significant discussions occurred at the meeting regarding rumoured merger negotiations between Chrysler and other automakers. The Chrysler manufacturing executives who participated in the CAW meeting are not involved in those negotiations.

The meeting emphasized the challenging market conditions affecting all North American automakers as a result of the financial crisis and resulting "credit crunch." 

Despite the current sales downturn, no anticipated or announced downtime or shift reductions were discussed at Chrysler's Canadian facilities.

Some bright lights affecting the Canadian industry were also discussed, including the fact that Chrysler's Canadian sales volumes are holding up much better than U.S. sales, Chrysler's share of the North American minivan segment has increased this year (Chrysler's minivans are made in Canada), and the decline in the Canadian dollar has re-established a significant labour cost advantage for Canadian plants.

CAW president Ken Lewenza said after the meeting, "the North American auto industry is now being seriously affected by the credit crunch.  It is imperative that governments and financial authorities in Canada and the U.S. respond to the credit crunch with loan guarantees, short-term credit, and other emergency assistance for the automakers and their financial divisions."

"It is unacceptable that governments will ride to the rescue of banks and other financial institutions, but ignore the plight of major companies in our real economy who are suffering from exactly the same problem: a short-term freezing up of credit," Lewenza said.  Lewenza urged the federal and Ontario governments, in conjunction with U.S. authorities, participate in efforts to free up badly needed credit for the auto industry.

CAW leaders have spoken against the possibility of a merger between Chrysler and GM, because of the risks posed to workers from post-merger consolidation and closures.

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