BIZ VOICE: Martinrea closes its Dresden plant



Up to 60 long-term employees are losing their jobs as Martinrea International closes its auto parts plant in Dresden.

Unifor Local 127 National Representative Jeff McFadden said the company notified workers several weeks ago but only went public with the information last week.

McFadden was “shocked” by the news when the company informed him a year and a half ago.

Workers at the plant were providing parts to Stellantis in Windsor. The company, in a statement to the media, said three contracts, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300C, ended. It supplied most of the work at the Dresden facility. McFadden said the vehicles were “coming to the end of their run” and Stellantis is making major changes, most notably moving into the electric vehicle market.

“They did not renew their contract,” said McFadden.

“There was no new work to go into Dresden to replace the work that they had,” he said, adding he believed the company did try to find more work to keep the facility open.

Any remaining contracts from Dresden will be transferred to the company’s Ridgetown facility.

McFadden said the tradespeople in Dresden were long-time employees and made what would be considered mid-range wages for the auto parts industry.

Unifor has not yet set up a help centre for the workers. McFadden said there are a number of companies hiring in the area and he’s passing along the opportunities to the workers.

Most of the workers were laid off just before Christmas. A little more than a dozen people continue to work inside the plant to wrap up production. It’s not clear how long they will be there.

  • Heather Wright, The Petrolia Independent

Pork conference slated for Feb. 21

Ridgetown has been chosen as the site of the 60th annual Southwestern Ontario Pork Conference to be held Feb. 21.

The theme of the year’s event is “Moving Forward,” designed to showcase new ideas in benchmarking, barn renovations and more.

“It’s all about keeping producers informed and up to date while providing a place for industry reps to visit with their customers,” said Darren Sloan, chair of the 2024 SWOPC Planning Committee.

Held at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus, the conference will feature presentations by Ryan Martin of RFW Farms Ltd., OMAFRA team members Laura Eastwood and Steve Beadle, Dr, Greg Wideman from South West Vets, Ryan Tenbergen from Demeter Veterinary Services and Matt Davis from Hord Family Farms in Ohio.

Numerous industry sponsors are stepping up to make the event happen and participants are encouraged to visit the trade show area, where complimentary refreshments will be served. Swine barns tours and an evening social are also on the agenda.

Conference information and registration can be viewed at The event also features a pork dinner.

For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, call 1-866-222-9682 or e-mail

  • Business Voice is a bi-monthly column in The Chatham Voice that highlights some of the achievements made and efforts underway in Chatham-Kent’s business community. Send your information to



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