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Industryweek 11312 Dennis Williams

UAW to Strike at Parts Supplier in Detroit

June 22, 2016
The union contends that after workers voted to unionize at Sakthi's two Detroit plants, the company fired 52 bargaining unit employees and replaced them with temp workers.

The UAW announced today that it will strike on Monday at Sakthi Automotive Group, an automotive supplier headquartered in India that recently set up operations in Detroit.

According to a UAW press release, the strike will begin at 5 a.m. at the Sakthi facility at 6401 W. Fort St.

“We are asking all UAW elected and appointed representatives for support in our upcoming [Unfair Labor Practices] strike at Sakthi Automotive,” a news release says. “We also would like the support of all rank and file members, as well as retirees.”

According to the release, in May 2015, a super-majority of Sakthi workers in Detroit voted to unionize two plants on the southwest side of the city. But the union sees plant management as resistant to unionization, delaying talks by “consistently coming to the table unprepared and empty-handed, and regularly canceling scheduled contract negotiation dates.” The union also accuses Sakthi of changing their position “on things workers had agreed to during negotiations.”

The union alleges that Sakthi has fired at least 52 bargaining unit employees since negotiations began and replaced them with temporary workers.

According to its Linkedin page, Sakthi specializes in iron/aluminum-cast, machined and assembled components for “all major OEMs globally.” A 2015 article in Crain’s Detroit Business mentioned the company planned to move 90% of its aluminum castings business to Detroit, in a $31.9 million expansion projected to create 350 jobs.

The UAW filed a labor relations complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against the company in April 2015, charging unauthorized layoffs and refusal to hire, coercive actions and statements, and denial of access. The case remains open.

Last year, Sakthi pledged to hire 2 convicted felons per month as part of a re-entry program in Detroit.

Sakthi Automotive Group CEO Lalit Verma could not immediately be reached for comment.

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