United Auto Workers members rally outside Stellantis’ Ram 1500 plant in Sterling Heights, Mich. after the union called a strike at the plant on Oct. 23, 2023.
Michael Wayland / CNBC
DETROIT — The United Auto Workers union is expanding its strike to a Stellantis plant in Michigan that produces Ram 1500 full-size pickup trucks, dealing another blow to the Detroit automakers as negotiations drag on.
The new work stoppage includes roughly 6,800 workers at Stellantis’ Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in suburban Detroit, the union announced Monday after initiating the walkout.
“Currently, 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,” the UAW said in a release.
The walkout at the Sterling Heights plant brings the total number of UAW members on strike with the Detroit automakers to more than 40,000. It marks the first escalation in the union’s strike in nearly two weeks and the first new work stoppage at Stellantis in over a month.
“We’ve tried to do things the right way. We’ve taken our time, we’ve been patient with these companies. It’s time to amp up the pressure and SHAP just seemed like the the proper target at this time,” UAW President Shawn Fain said outside the plant on Monday, calling the facility Stellantis’ “money-maker.”
Stellantis said Monday it was “outraged that the UAW has chosen to expand its strike action against the company,” citing “a new, improved offer” made by Stellantis on Thursday, which included 23% wage increases, a nearly 50% increase in company contributions to retirement plans and other enhanced benefits.
“Following multiple conversations that appeared to be productive, we left the bargaining table expecting a counter-proposal, but have been waiting for one ever since,” Stellantis said in an emailed statement. “Our very strong offer would address member demands and provide immediate financial gains for our employees. Instead, the UAW has decided to cause further harm to the entire automotive industry as well as our local, state and national economies.”
United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain (right) and UAW Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock (left) lead a march outside Stellantis’ Ram 1500 plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan after the union called a strike at the plant on Oct. 23, 2023.
Michael Wayland / CNBC
The company said the strike “will have long-lasting consequences,” including loss of domestic market share to non-union competition, company profits and profit-sharing bonuses for UAW members.
Sterling Heights is one of the most important U.S. plants to Stellantis. However, the automaker is better poised to wait out a work stoppage at the truck plant than its crosstown rivals General Motors and Ford Motor, with a relatively healthy supply of Ram pickups ready to go.
The company had a 114-day supply of the Ram 1500 pickup as of Oct. 17, according to Cox Automotive, compared with GM’s…