6800 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union who work at Stellantis’ largest factory have gone on strike, affecting production of the popular Ram 1500.
The Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP) in Michigan was added to the union’s strike list on Monday.
UPDATE, 25/10/23 – Ram Trucks Australia told CarExpert despite US strikes local supply is currently unaffected.
“RAM Trucks Australia is unaffected by the situation in the US. We are in close contact with our colleagues overseas and will continue to monitor the situation,” a spokesperson from Ram Trucks Australia told CarExpert.
“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,” said the UAW in a statement.
“We are outraged that the UAW has chosen to expand its strike action against Stellantis,” the company said in response the UAW’s surprise strike.
According to the automaker, current talks “appeared to be productive, we left the bargaining table expecting a counter-proposal, but have been waiting for one ever since”.
It claims its “improved” offer included “23 per cent wage increases over the life of the contract, nearly a 50 per cent increase in our contributions to the retirement savings plan, and additional job security protections for our employees”.
Stellantis publicly declared its initial UAW proposal on September 23.
We recently presented a highly competitive economic proposal to the UAW. This includes a cumulative 21% wage increase – with an immediate 10% increase. Read the details here: https://t.co/V1H8hM2dlq pic.twitter.com/4GtdJfzMv6— Stellantis North America (@StellantisNA) September 16, 2023
It claims “the UAW has decided to cause further harm to the entire automotive industry as well as our local, state and national economies”.
UAW President Shawn Fain told WXYZ Channel 7 Detroit, “We just felt like it was time to turn it up.”
“They know where we need to be,” Mr Fain said. “We can get there. We can get a deal done this week. But the company’s got to get serious and get down to business.”
“I think that caught everybody off guard,” said the chairman of the Stellantis National Dealer Council, Nyle Maxwell, to Automotive News.
“I guess that’s what [Fain’s] intending to do these days. I heard from a couple of Stellantis sources that they were pretty positive on everything going into the weekend and that they thought they’d made progress. … It truly was a surprise.”
Wells Fargo analyst Colin Lang told Automotive News the UAW’s strike on the SHAP could cost Stellantis US$110 million (A$157 million) in operating revenue per week, which could double the company’s overall loss from the strikes to about US$200 million (A$315 million) a week.
Automotive News reports the assembly plant responsible for Ram 1500 production accounts for 16 per cent of Stellantis’ overall production in the United States.
Inclusive of the heavy-duty 2500 and 3500, Ram’s pickup truck range is Stellantis’ best seller in the US market.
Based on data from Cox Automotive, dealers may not feel the loss of Ram 1500 production for a while as there’s currently a 114-day supply of 1500s in the US.
This is the first expansion of the strike since October 11, when the union added Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant to its list.
The UAW first began strikes on September 15 at three assembly plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. The strikes now extend across seven assembly plants and 38 parts distribution centres over 22 states in the US, affecting not only Stellantis and Ford but also General Motors.
The union says it now has over 40,000 of its members participating in the strike.