As the United Auto Workers strike is on the brink of expanding even further, one of Detroit’s Big Three carmakers said it’s anticipating more layoffs in response to the walkout.
Stellantis announced Wednesday it has temporarily laid off 68 workers at a machining plant in Ohio due to “storage constraints.” The company went on to say that it plans to lay off an estimated 300 more employees at two factories in Indiana.
“Stellantis continues to closely monitor the impact of the UAW strike action on our manufacturing operations,” the company said in a statement.
The move comes less than a week after Ford announced it was temporarily laying off about 600 workers in Wayne, Michigan, due to the work stoppage, and General Motors said it would lay off some 2,000 employees in Kansas City, Missouri.
So far the UAW walkout is limited to about 13,000 workers at three factories, but union president Shawn Fain has threatened to expand the strike unless substantial progress is made in negotiations on a new labor contract.
“I have been clear with the Big Three every step of the way. And I’m going to be crystal clear again right now: If we don’t make serious progress by noon on Friday, Sept. 22, more locals will be called on to stand up and join the strike,” Fain said in a video statement. “That will mark more than a week since our first members walked out. And that will mark more than a week of the Big Three failing to make progress in negotiations toward reaching a deal that does right by our members.”
Ford, General Motors and Stellantis have said they hope to settle the strike by the deadline, but have held back from directly criticizing the escalating threats. Mark Stewart, the chief operating officer of Stellantis North America, said the company will continue working to find common ground with the UAW.
“I hope that we’re able to do that by Friday,” Stewart said on CNBC.
The UAW is demanding double-digit pay increases for all workers, the elimination of its tiered wage system, and more paid time off, among other things. Some striking workers say they’re ready to return to their jobs, but only if their demands are met.
“We’re ready to go back to work whenever we can get a fair deal,” said Tiffanie Simmons of UAW Local 900 in Wayne, Michigan. “Nobody wanted to do this, nobody wanted to strike, but this is something that we felt we had to do.”