UAW Strike Expands to Plymouth Parts Distribution Center
A national United Auto Workers strike has expanded to include the Stellantis Mopar Parts Distribution Center in Plymouth.
For nearly two weeks, auto workers have walked the picket lines on strike against the nation’s big three automakers, which includes Stellantis (formerly Chrysler). Workers began striking at the Plymouth plant Friday.
Striking workers near the parts plant carried signs and waved at passing vehicles along Highway 55 on Tuesday. They told CCX News about their opposition to a two-tier wage system, which they say pays newer hires at less than half the wages of long-time staff for the same work.
Meanwhile, veteran employees like David Carlson say pay has gone up only slightly over the last 20 years.
“My dad retired here 20 years ago. My dad made $5 less 20 years ago than we do now,” said Carlson, who has worked at the Plymouth facility for nearly 30 years. “We’re kind of looking to get back what we’ve given up over many years.”
Representatives from Stellantis say they’re bargaining in good faith and trying to find creative solutions to prevent any competitive disadvantage.
“We question whether the union’s leadership has ever had an interest in reaching an agreement in a timely manner,” read a statement released by Stellantis to the media. “They seem more concerned about pursuing their own political agendas than negotiating in the best interests of our employees and the sustainability of our U.S. operations given the market’s fierce competition.”
But union leaders strongly disagree and say there’s room for consensus.
“I know a lot people say it’s all about the corporations. And other people say it’s all about the labor, but it’s not. You need them both,” said Joe Marrin, president of UAW Local 125. “You’re in it together. If they’ve made $12 billion already this year, you gotta help out your people.”
Marrin and others who agreed to speak with CCX News say they expect to receive an update on negotiations on Friday, when they hear from UAW President Shawn Fain.
For Carlson, it’s the first UAW strike he has been involved in.
“It’s new to everybody, I’ve been here almost 30 years, and never once had to be out here,” he said about the Plymouth facility.
The Stellantis parts center in Plymouth distributes to six states in the Upper Midwest and parts of Canada.