Chrysler Group LLC has opened up a referral- and lottery-based hiring process for about 60 new general production jobs left vacant through attrition at the Windsor Assembly Plant.
Starting Friday, each full-time employee can refer one candidate for consideration. Those applicants, who could make up a total of about 5,000 people, will be entered in a lottery and an unspecified number will be chosen for an interview.
The process comes from Unifor’s 2012 contractual agreement with Chrysler. Dino Chiodo, the Local 444 president, said the number of applicants is limited because of past situations with General Motors in Toronto where 13,000 people showed up believing 300 jobs were available, but only 20 or 30 were hired.
“It’s a process that’s a right for our members to have this referral done, and from that perspective, just thinking about going through 4,000 applications, you know certainly that we’re going to get 60 good, qualified individuals to do those jobs,” said Chiodo.
The new hires will also fall under the pay structure established in 2012 in which they start at $20 an hour and could earn up to $34 an hour in 10 years.
Because the positions have opened do to workers retiring or quitting, Chrysler Canada spokesperson LouAnn Gosselin said she doesn’t expect much change in the plant’s workforce numbers once they’re released for the year in January.
Gosselin said those selected through the lottery will fill out an application and go through the company’s standard hiring procedure.
“They have to have a high school or equivalent diploma and they’ll be subject to an interview, background check and medical tests before further employment consideration is given,” said Gosselin.
The people moving on to the next part of the selection process will be chosen Wednesday.
Tony Faria, co-director of automotive research at the University of Windsor, said hiring by referrals is a good way to get started if current employees are liked by the company. However, he said he’s not as enthusiastic about the lottery system.
“I think it would be better to take a look at the resumes of those referrals and go after the ones you think are most qualified, rather than just a random selection, which may get some of the better people that have been referred, but also some of the not-as- good people that have been referred,” said Faria.
While Faria said Chrysler hiring is always good news, these jobs opening up doesn’t give any indication of Chrysler’s long-term plans in Windsor. He said because the plant is already operating at capacity with three shifts, the company does not have many options for increasing the total number of jobs.
The plant added about 1,500 workers when it created the third shift in 1993.
Chiodo said this is really the first time since 2001 the plant has sent out a substantial hiring call for people who have not been laid off.
“This recognizes that the union and management group both understand that we need more people to keep operations running within our facility, and that’s a good start to being able to be more competitive,” Chiodo said.