UAW workers go on strike at Stellantis plant in Indiana
DETROIT — United Auto Workers union members went on strike Saturday at the Stellantis casting plant in Indiana, citing health and safety issues including the company’s alleged refusal to repair and replace the plant’s air conditioning and heating systems.
The 35-acre plant in Kokomo makes parts used in the power trains of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM vehicles and a long-term strike could affect vehicle assembly lines across North America.
Stellantis says production had not been scheduled for this weekend and it hoped to resume negotiations as soon as possible on a contract with striking UAW Local 1166.
In a statement, Stellantis said it was committed “to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. After bargaining in good faith for two days and presenting an offer we believed addressed the union’s concerns, we are disappointed by the UAW’s decision to walk out.”
The 1,200-worker plant, Kokomo Casting, is the world’s largest die cast facility, according to Stellantis. It produces aluminum parts for components such as transmissions and engine blocks.
The UAW local complained that Stellantis “claims” it doesn’t have enough money to provide basic needs for its members, including clean uniforms, while making record profits and investing billions of dollars in a new battery factory across the street. “
In May, Stellantis and Samsung announced a $2.5 million joint venture to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Kokomo. It will employ 1 ,400 employees. David Willis,
UAW’s local president, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The person answering the phone at the union offices stated that he was preparing to resume negotiations.
The casting plant will be retooled in order to produce engine blocks for hybrid electric vehicles.
Stellantis, formed last year with the merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Peugeot, had said it would build two electric vehicle battery factories in North America. One is planned for Windsor, Ontario.
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