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Nemak Windsor Plant Set to Close in 2020

Dec. 10, 2019
A union challenge to the foundry's shutdown plan was rejected by an arbitrator, keeping the closing on schedule for midyear

Nemak, the automotive casting group, will close its Windsor (Ont.) Aluminum Plant by mid-2020, as announced earlier this year, following an arbitrator's ruling against the claim of the local workers' union that the shut-down decision would be a violation of a 2016 labor contract.

Unifor Local 200 had argued that Nemak must keep the plant operating until 2022, based on terms of that labor agreement.

Nemak agreed to a binding arbitration about the plant’s future in September after employees staged a blockade of the plant. Following the Ontario Labour Relations Board arbitrator's decision, Local 200 president John D’Agnolo raised the possibility of challenging the shutdown in court.

A Nemak spokeswoman maintained the group has not violated the terms of the 2016 contract.

The plant has 100 employees (down from 270 one year ago) and casts aluminum engine blocks and heads for the Cadillac CTS (supplied to China), Chevrolet Colorado diesel pickup, and Chevrolet Corvette.

When the 2020 closing was announced in July, the Nemak explained: "This decision is a result of the early phase-out of an export program with a customer in China, which is expected to bring capacity utilization at the plant to less than 10% by 2020."

"Given our outlook on capacity utilization and volumes in Windsor, we have made the decision to end production at this facility,” Nemak CEO Armando Tamez added at that time.