Stellantis, the maker of Jeep, has arrived at a tentative contractual agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. This move was initiated amidst intensifying strikes against General Motors (GM), with a plant in Tennessee being incorporated into the action. Member ratification is requisite to finalize this deal, leaving GM as the only enterprise still requiring a union agreement.
In a bid to apply pressure, the union called for a walkout from a GM facility situated in Spring Hill, Tennessee, on Saturday night. The Stellantis agreement runs parallel to one signed earlier this week with Ford. Promisingly, it also continues to maintain employment at a factory in Belvidere, Illinois, that was previously slated for closure by Stellantis.
GM expressed disappointment over the additional strike at the Spring Hill assembly and propulsion systems plant, emphasizing the progress made so far. GM has claimed to have acted in good faith during negotiations with the union, expressing a desire to reach a compromise as quickly as possible.
The Spring Hill plant is GM’s largest manufacturing establishment in North America, boasting an impressive 11 million square feet of building space. Housing nearly 4,000 employees, it produces the electric Cadillac Lyriq, GMC Acadia, and the Cadillac XT5 and XT6 crossover SUVs.
Shawn Fain, the UAW president, validated the Stellantis consensus in a video appearance on Saturday evening. He added that the agreement still requires votes from 43,000 members of the company. The 14,000 UAW employees on strike at two Stellantis assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio, and numerous parts distribution centers across the country, have been requested to cease their picketing and return to work. Upon ratification, this agreement will conclude a six-week-long strike at the enterprise that manufactures Jeep and Ram vehicles.
Both Stellantis and Ford agreements will continue through April 30, 2028, underscoring job security not just in Belvidere, but also in an engine plant in Trenton, Michigan, and a machining factory in Toledo, Ohio. Fain articulated the union’s accomplishments, stating, “We’ve done the impossible. We have moved mountains. We have reopened an assembly plant that was closed.”
Stellantis has made a commitment to establish a new mid-size truck at its Belvidere factory, which was originally scheduled for closure. This will see the reemployment of about 1,200 workers, with another 1,000 new hires for an upcoming electric vehicle battery plant. A sense of victory is evident as Fain reveals, “We’re bringing back both combustion vehicles and electric vehicle jobs to Belvidere.”
The workforce will see a significant bump at the Toledo, Ohio, machining plant, said Vice-President Rich Boyer, who lead the Stellantis talks. The union has secured US$19 billion in investment across the U.S. Furthermore, Fain shared that contrary to Stellantis’ original proposal to cut 5,000 U.S. jobs, the union’s strike was successful in flipping the script to add 5,000 jobs by the end of the contract.
A significant milestone has been achieved with the Stellantis agreement yielding gains more than four times those of the improvement set in the 2019 contract with the UAW. By April 2028, a top-scale assembly plant worker’s base wage will see an increase more than all the raises accrued in the past 22 years.
To close out the deal, the UAW won the right to strike over plant closures at Stellantis, and if the company fails to meet product and investment commitments. Ensuring that the union keeps its impressive momentum to strike a deal with GM will be crucial in settling the course of the industry in the coming years.