Nearly 7,000 auto workers at Stellantis’ Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, have joined the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike — a major blow for the automaker as the plant is its most profitable in the United States.
On Monday morning, 6,800 auto workers at the Sterling Heights plant joined tens of thousands of fellow UAW members in an ongoing strike against General Motors (GM), Ford, and Stellantis.
The workers are demanding better pay to keep up with cost-of-living hikes under crippling inflation as well as commitments that their jobs will not be eliminated as a result of President Joe Biden’s Electric Vehicle (EV) mandates.
The Stellantis workers help produce the best-selling RAM 1500 trucks, making the plant the automaker’s most profitable in the United States. The move comes after the UAW had 8,700 auto workers join the strike at Ford’s highly profitable Louisville, Kentucky, plant.
The total number of American auto workers now on strike has reached over 40,000 and spans 22 states.
Stellantis executives said they are “outraged” by the walkout in Sterling Heights.
“Our very strong offer would address member demands and provide immediate financial gains for our employees,” Stellantis executives said in a statement. “Instead the UAW has decided to cause further harm to the entire automotive industry as well as our local, state, and national economies.”
Meanwhile, the UAW continues to argue that the Big Three have scored record profits in recent years but have yet to give their employees much-needed raises and job security commitments while executive pay has skyrocketed.
“Ford, GM, and Stellantis made a quarter-trillion dollars in North American profits over the last decade,” UAW officials wrote in a news release. “They made a combined $21 billion in total profits in just the first six months of this year. And yet all of them are still refusing to settle contracts that give workers a fair share of the record profits they’ve earned.”
For weeks, auto workers have said they are worried their jobs will be eliminated altogether as a result of Biden’s EV mandates and that supply chains will be dominated by China, which controls nearly 70 percent of the world’s lithium, 95 percent of manganese, 73 percent of cobalt, 70 percent of graphite, and 63 percent of nickel, key components of the EV battery supply chain.
While auto workers worry about their jobs being eliminated, automaker executives are set to score billions in lucrative tax credits thanks to Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which will incentivize EV production and sales.