WINDSOR, Ont. — Nearly 400 employees of Ford Motor Co. of Canada will be laid off this fall when the company cuts one of the two shifts at its Windsor Engine Complex in southwestern Ontario.
The Canadian Auto Workers union says 489 of its members will be laid off from the complex on Nov. 1. About 135 of them will get jobs at the Essex plant, also in Windsor, Ont., which is adding a shift in September.
“This realignment of production results in a net loss of approximately 400 jobs,” Ford Canada spokeswoman Lauren More wrote in an email.
The news came a day after General Motors of Canada closed its transmission plant in Windsor, ending a 90-year history in the border city near Detroit and putting 1,100 people out of work.
Workers were advised in January that one shift at the Ford engine plant would be eliminated and the union was told Wednesday exactly how many people would be out of work and when the layoffs would begin.
“We were advised early in the new year that we would have volume issues coming out of Windsor Engine Annex but they hadn’t put a set date on when the shift would be lost,” Renaud said.
He said it was “still devastating news” even though there had been advance notice.
The company is holding town hall meetings over the next two days to inform the employees. About 385 of the lost jobs will come out of the production unit and 104 trade jobs will be lost at the Windsor engine plant.
However, the company is recalling about 135 employees to its Essex engine plant, and many of those jobs will go to employees from the Windsor plant who have seniority rights for any recall.
That means 388 people will actually lose their jobs due to the restructuring, Renaud said.
“Market share is changing, Ford is rearranging their market and what engines they put in their vehicles, but we’ll continue to push Ford for work in Windsor,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Essex plant has been a “bright spot” for the company, Renaud said.
The plant has recalled 360 laid-off employees to help with pre-production and will ramp up to full production by the fall. In total, 500 laid-off workers will be recalled.
The Essex engine plant was idled in 2007, putting approximately 900 people out of work, but the Ontario government said in 2008 it would contribute $17 million to keep it operating.
Later that year, Ottawa followed suit, investing $80 million. This financial backstop gave Ford Canada the ability to raise another $590 million — enough to convince parent company Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) to build fuel-efficient V8 engines for the 2011 Mustang sports car at the Essex plant.
However, Ford Canada has also said it will close its St. Thomas, Ont., plant next year, leaving another 1,500 auto workers without jobs.
Ford Canada employs approximately 6,000 people at assembly plants in Oakville, Ont., and St. Thomas, two engine plants in Windsor and parts distribution centres in Brampton, Ont., and Edmonton.