(The Center Square) – About 6,800 more United Auto Workers went on strike on Monday morning at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, which the union says is Stellantis’ largest and most profitable plant.
The UAW started the strike Sept. 15 and since then has expanded it to more than 40,000 workers in seven assembly plants and 38 parts distribution centers across 22 states as it nears the six-week mark.
UAW Union President Shawn Fain has repeated his mantra “record profits mean record contracts.” He says Big Three automaker executives at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis have received hefty pay raises while inflation has eaten away at UAW workers’ paychecks.
The union is seeking double-digit pay raises, cost of living adjustment restoration, eliminating tiers on wages and benefits, defined benefit pensions for everyone, and re-establishing retiree medical benefits.
The new additional 6,800 workers will disrupt the production of Stellantis’ RAM 1500 trucks.
Instead of calling on all 146,000 UAW workers to strike at once, which would deplete the UAW’s strike fund, the union is striking select auto plants to disrupt production. The goal is to show the importance of UAW workers in vehicle production.
The move comes just days after UAW President Shawn Fain detailed the current proposals across the automakers, highlighting the shortcomings of Stellantis’ current offer.
UAW workers interviewed by The Center Square say they want to be able to afford the vehicles they make and say they took pay cuts during the 2008 recession but never received many benefits back since then.
Fain said the Big Three have closed 65 auto plants over 20 years and said workers have been left out of the profits made during the pandemic. Ford Motor Co. in the second quarter reported its net income nearly tripled from a year ago to $1.9 billion.
The strike aims to obtain better pay and benefits for UAW workers as well as job security in the future to produce electric vehicles.
The UAW says Stellantis lags behind both Ford and General Motors in addressing compensation and has the worst proposal on the table regarding wage progression, temporary worker pay and conversion to full-time, cost-of-living adjustments, and more.
Ford, GM and Stellantis made a quarter-trillion dollars in North American profits over the last decade. They made a combined $21 billion in total profits in the first six months of this year.