top of page
  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

NDP lay out auto-strategy after Stellantis announces second shift cut

by Sylene Argent

As local autoworkers question their job security, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath joined Essex-Windsor NDP MPPs Taras Natyshak, Percy Hatfield, and Lisa Gretzky, last Thursday to lay out a Zero-Emissions Vehicle Strategy that was designed to secure auto jobs.

  The announcement came after Stellantis announced recently its plan to cut its second shift in the spring, which is estimated to affect 1,800 jobs, plus feeder and spinoff jobs. The latest cut comes at least in part due to supply issues with semiconductor computer chips, the NDP noted.

  “I know first-hand how important autoworker jobs are and I know the impact that this announcement must be having on people and families, and it must be rippling through the entire community,” Horwath said, noting her dad was an autoworker. She added the loss of 1800 jobs is a significant hit to those families. “I am sure they are worried. I am sure they are up nights, trying to figure out what the future holds, not only for themselves, but for their kids, for the future of good jobs here in this community.”

  Good jobs, Horwath added, create stable, middle-class families.

  “My heart goes out to those workers and this entire community,” she added. “I think it is important to acknowledge not only the impact that this is going to have currently, but how that might impact, actually, generations to come.”

  The NDP, she said, “Will never stop fighting for auto jobs in this province.”

  The Liberals, she added, had 15-years to put together a solid auto-strategy for the province, and the current Premier, she said, is not prepared to step up and fight, “and crusades against environmental initiatives.”

  What the NDP has committed to do, she said, is to make those investments through its plan, “Climate. Jobs. Justice. A Green New Democratic Deal.” The plan includes a number of items, such as ensuring investments to transform the auto-sector to electric vehicles, ensuring charging stations are installed, transforming existing government fleets to electric, and include major manufactures and the supply chain in the auto-strategy.

  “If we are going to have the opportunity to keep these good jobs in our communities with a transition into electric vehicles, then we need to be there with companies and workers with a strategy to ensure that these jobs and vehicles of the future are manufactured and developed in Ontario.

  “We are proud to have that plan,” Horwath said, claiming it will bring prosperity to auto families.

With Ontario’s first Zero-Emissions Vehicles Strategy, an NDP government would invest in retooling auto plants in Ontario to design, manufacture, and assemble electric vehicles; introduce a suite of incentives to help people switch to electric; and ramp up electric vehicle sales to 100 per cent of all new auto sales in Ontario by 2035, information from the NDP notes.

  “That’s an ambitious plan. It is a plan that we know will take investment and collaboration with industry and with workers. That’s what we don’t see from our government.”

Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli spoke with representatives from Stellantis, including Mark Stewart and Dave Buckingham, about the company’s plans to soon reduce the workforce at its Windsor vehicle plant, a statement from the Premier’s Office notes.

“Premier Ford expressed his disappointment with the decision to eliminate the facility’s second shift putting nearly two thousand Ontarians out of a job next year. While Stellantis reiterated that their decision was made as a result of a worldwide semiconductor shortage and other economic pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Premier encouraged them to work with union leadership to ensure that everything is being done to get the plant back to operating at full capacity,” the statement adds.

In addition, the statement noted Ford reaffirmed his long-standing commitment to the success of Ontario’s auto manufacturing sector and the tens of thousands of hardworking Ontarians it directly employs. “He also made clear that our government would continue to do everything we can to stand up for Ontario workers and the good-paying jobs they rely on.”

bottom of page