UAW workers walked off the job today at Stellantis’s Dodge Ram assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, adding 6,800 more striking workers to a strike that is now going into its second month.
The Sterling Heights Assembly Plant walkout was the second unannounced “surprise” strike in the labor dispute between the United Auto Workers union and Detroit 3 automakers Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis.
“Despite having the highest revenue, the highest profits (North American and global), the highest profit margins, and the most cash in reserve, Stellantis lags behind both Ford and General Motors in addressing the demands of their UAW workforce,” UAW leadership said in a statement. “Currently, Stellantis has the worst proposal on the table regarding wage progression, temporary worker pay and conversion to full-time, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and more.”
More than 40,000 UAW members are on strike at the Detroit Three automotive plants. The total includes seven assembly plants and 38 parts distribution centers in 22 states.
On Sept. 15, the UAW’s contract with the automakers expired when the two sides could not come to an agreement. The UAW then began its “stand-up” strike where only certain plants are strategically targeted for walkouts, rather than all workers walking off the job at once and quickly draining the UAW’s strike fund for worker pay.
The first surprise strike happened Oct. 11 at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, where 8,700 workers walked off the job.
In a Facebook Live presentation, UAW President Shawn Fain said that automakers still have "money left to spend." He added that the offers on the table currently include:
- 23% wage increases at all three automakers
- The end of a tiered system by seniority for worker pay and benefits. All workers earn the highest wage for their position within three to four years of employment.
- Temporary worker wages up to $21 an hour, from $16.67, with a shorter time period to become permanent employees.
- The right to strike for plant closures at Ford and Stellantis.
- Increases in employer pension contributions.
A few hours after today's walkout at the Sterling Heights plant, Stellantis released a statement saying it was "outraged" by the walkout after its latest offer of 23% wage increases, a nearly 50% increase in retirement contributors and other job security protections.
"Following multiple conversations that appeared to be productive, we left the bargaining table expecting a counter-proposal, but have been waiting for one ever since," the statement read.