In a startling turn of events, the United Auto Workers (UAW) dealt a staggering blow to Stellantis this morning, initiating an unforeseen stand-up strike at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP) in Sterling Heights, Michigan. This sprawling 5-million-square-foot facility is the birthplace of the highly sought-after 2024 Ram 1500 (DT) pickup, a linchpin of Stellantis’ production lineup.
The move reverberated through Stellantis, which boasted an impressive production of nearly half a million pickups in 2022.
“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 (GM) in addressing the demands of their UAW workforce,” the UAW said. “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.”
UAW President Shawn Fain underscored the substantial progress at Stellantis and GM but insisted that these highly profitable companies have further room for compromise. He stated, “Time is on our side, the American public is on our side, and the facts are on our side.”
This latest development marks a new phase of stand-up strikes that began on October 11, when UAW members targeted Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant, a facility responsible for producing Ford Super Duty pickups, the Ford Expedition, and the Lincoln Navigator.
In response to the ongoing strike, Stellantis decided to forgo participation in major industry events, including the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the Los Angeles Auto Show, and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Now entering its fifth week, the strike shows no signs of imminent resolution. The UAW has strategically selected plants from each major U.S. automaker, including Stellantis, GM, and Ford, and has hinted at the possibility of expanding the strike to additional factories.
What began with 7,000 workers at a single factory for each automaker has now grown to include 34,000 employees across six plants and 38 parts warehouses nationwide. While all three companies have tried to sweeten pay offers and provide concessions, GM notably agreed to incorporate its forthcoming electric vehicle battery factories into the national UAW contract, securing future workers’ union membership.
As the strike continues, questions arise about how long President Fain intends to keep UAW members on the picket lines. Dawn Krunzel, a team leader at Stellantis’ Toledo Assembly Complex, expressed hope for a resolution to Reuters, emphasizing that the UAW seeks fair compensation for the concessions made during the companies’ earlier financial struggles.
Krunzel stated, “I’m hoping Fain is smart enough to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ You never get everything you want.”