UAW Strike at Plymouth Auto Parts Plant Reaches Second Month
Outside the Plymouth headquarters of Stellantis — which supplies Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealers with auto parts — members of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 125 have gathered over the last five weeks to strike against the nation’s big three automakers.
“I think it was six years we went without a raise,” said John Kontzelmann, the UAW Local 125 secretary treasurer. “We just never kept up with inflation.”
Kontzelmann has worked at the auto parts distribution center in Plymouth for 26 years, but he’s out here picketing for the younger employees.
“People fought for us. We’re just here fighting for the next generation,” he said. “These companies make enough money. [The younger employees] are entitled to have a career like it was when we started.”
Workers here want cost-of-living increases and they’re arguing against a two-tier wage system, which pays newer hires at less than half the wages of long-time staff for the same work.
However, there’s no end to the strike in sight.
“We just went and bought the two ice fishing houses,” Kontzelmann said. “We’re just setting them up today because the nights are getting colder. And if we’re out here in December and January we’re just, we’re just getting prepared.”
The hope is that the strike won’t last that long, but after nearly five weeks on the picket line, they’re bracing for the long haul.
“Yeah we all feel bad. I mean, we all want to go back to work,” Kontzelmann said. “But you know, we’re gonna stay out here as long as we can.”
Stellantis, meanwhile, says they are working with the UAW to reach a competitive collective bargaining agreement.
They’ve put together a website that has more details on the negotiations.