United Auto Workers
Picket line outside Mack facilities in Hagerstown, Maryland.

UAW strike extends to another truck plant

Oct. 24, 2023
Nearly 7,000 workers at Stellantis’ Ram plant in Michigan joined the strike against the Big Three U.S. automakers the same day Mack Trucks hoped to resume negotiations with union workers who walked out two weeks ago.

The United Auto Workers launched a second surprise strike this week at Stellantis' Sterling Heights Assembly Plant assembly plant in Michigan, where the Ram pickup truck is built. The 6,800 union workers there joined more than 40,000 UAW members on strike at the Detroit Big Three automotive plants, now in its second month. The UAW is demanding higher wages, better benefits, and job security.

On the same day, UAW negotiators expected to return to the bargaining table with heavy-duty OEM Mack Trucks, where another 3,900 UAW members went on strike Oct. 9 at Mack facilities in three states.

Last week, Mack leaders called the UAW’s latest list of demands unreasonable after the union initially agreed to a new contract offer on Oct. 1 before formally walking out a week later. Mack Trucks is a subsidiary of the Volvo Group, which also produces Volvo Trucks in North America.

“Unfortunately, the new UAW economic demands are completely unrealistic,” Mack President Stephen Roy said on Oct. 19. “We’ve already shown that we’re prepared to provide our employees with significantly improved wages, but we are not prepared to jeopardize the company.”

On Monday, UAW leaders laid out their spin on the Mack Trucks strike in this X video post:

Mack union employees in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida voted against a contract offer that included a 10% wage increase in the first year, a 20% increase in wages over five years, and no increase in health insurance premiums for the duration of the contract.

See also: Truck order numbers soar in September compared to rest of 2023

UAW adds Ram plant to Big Three strike

Stellantis has said it is outraged by the strike and has made a fair offer. However, the UAW leadership contends that Stellantis has the worst contract proposal of the Big Three regarding wage progression, temporary worker pay and conversion to full-time, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and more.

In a Facebook Live presentation, UAW President Shawn Fain said that Stellantis, Ford, and General Motors still have "money left to spend." He added that the offers on the table currently include:

  • A 23% wage increase at all three automakers.
  • The end of a tiered system by seniority for worker pay and benefits. All workers would earn the highest wage for their position within three to four years of employment.
    • Temporary-worker wages up to $21 an hour, from $16.67, with a shorter period to become permanent employees.
      • The right to strike for plant closures at Ford and Stellantis.
        • Increases in employer pension contributions.

          Stellantis has said it is willing to continue bargaining, but the UAW has yet to respond. The strike is significantly impacting the light-duty vehicle industry, disrupting the production of some of the most popular vehicles in the U.S., including Ford's biggest plant in Louisville, Kentucky, where the F-Series Super Duty trucks are built.

          Read more coverage of the UAW strike at Ford, GM, and Stellantis plants from Senior Editor Laura Putre of Endeavor Business Media’s IndustryWeek, a FleetOwner affiliate publication.

          About the Author

          Josh Fisher | Editor-in-Chief

          Editor-in-Chief Josh Fisher has been with FleetOwner since 2017, covering everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, artificial intelligence, autonomous trucking, regulations, and emerging transportation technology. He is based in Maryland. 

          About the Author

          Laura Putre

          Senior Editor, IndustryWeek

          Focus: IndustryWeek Contributors, Leadership, Automotive

          Email: [email protected]

          Call: (954) 361-1535

          Twitter: @LauraPutre

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          Senior Editor Laura Putre manages IW contributors and covers leadership as it applies to executive best practices, corporate culture, corporate responsibility, growth strategies, managing and training talent, and strategic planning.

          A former newspaper journalist, Laura has written for Slate, The Root, the Chicago Tribune, the Guardian and many other publications.

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