Stellantis has announced that it will be cutting the third shift at its Warren Truck Assembly Plant (WTAP) in Michigan. The plant currently produces the Jeep® Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer (WS) and the Ram 1500 Classic (DS) with a workforce of 5,523 employees (5,239 hourly; 284 salaried).
In a statement released on Wednesday, a Stellantis spokesperson cited the ongoing semiconductor shortage for the plant’s return to a two-shift schedule. It was stated the move was “to improve production efficiency.”
According to the statement, the full-time third-shift employees with seniority will be able to transfer to other shifts, while part-time supplemental employees will see their hours reduced. The number of employees affected by the move, however, was not released.
During the recent Q3 period, Jeep sold a total of 13,001 Wagoneers and 2,353 Grand Wagoneers in the American marketplace. That pushed the total sales numbers for the duo to 30,276 Wagoneers and 9,454 Grand Wagoneers, so far this year.
“No one is being laid off,” exclaimed Eric Graham, President of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 140 which represents the employees at WTAP.
Graham explained that most of the supplemental employees have been working 40-hour weeks. But he did also state there could be opportunities for some of those employees to transfer to other plants around the area.
It’s no secret that the WTAP facility has been facing quality control and high-absenteeism issues.
Insiders have claimed that higher wages from other places due to the current labor shortage, have made it hard for automakers to retain employees. All while ongoing semiconductor and supply chain shortages have left tentative schedules for employees on a week-by-week basis, causing commotion.
Stellantis Chief Manufacturing Officer, Arnaud Deboeuf visited the WTAP facility just prior to the announcement of the cuts on a routine visit. The visit sparked UAW Local 140 to issue a letter to its membership claiming, “The defects in the trucks [are] above unacceptable and absenteeism is at 15%. They are giving us until March to decrease absenteeism and increase quality. If this is not improved significantly, the company is not willing to allocate any future products to Warren Truck.”
There has been nothing to connect the shift elimination to the ongoing issues at the facility.
With the next round of contract negotiations scheduled to begin next summer, there could be a lot on the table for discussion. Rumors have been circulating for some time, that production of the Ram 1500 Classic could end at the WTAP facility after 2023 (production of the Classic could continue in Mexico for export sales). This would leave the plant plenty of space for a new product.
Source: The Detroit News