Collins & Aikman Corp., the bankrupt auto-parts maker, said 575 employees at two Canadian factories stopped work today because of concerns that they'll lose their jobs as the company prepares to close the plants.
The United Steelworkers members are upset at a ``lack of response'' from Southfield, Michigan-based Collins & Aikman on holding talks to discuss the planned shutdown of the Ontario plants, the union said in a Canada Newswire statement.
``We are optimistic that work will resume shortly,'' company spokesman David Youngman said. Collins & Aikman is in ``continuous dialogue'' with the union, he said. Without a buyer, the company will close the plants at year's end, he said.
The walkouts marked Collins & Aikman's second outbreak of labor unrest as it sells off assets after dropping plans to exit bankruptcy as a standalone business. Employees stopped work in April at factories in Toronto, Guelph and Ingersoll to pressure the partsmaker for severance pay.
The Ontario plants idled today chiefly make injection- molded car-interior parts for U.S. automakers. Youngman said almost 200 workers walked out at Mississauga, and 375 at Port Hope.
Some of the factories' products are shipped on a ``just-in- time'' basis, delivered as automakers need them, Youngman said. He wouldn't say whether the work stoppage may cause parts shortages, and he declined to identify any customers.
Collins & Aikman has about 12,000 employees in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2005.