During a recent Facebook livestreaming event, President of the United Auto Workers (UAW), Shawn Fain, referred to Stellantis’ recent decision to terminate roughly 539 temporary workers as “heinous” and “shameful,” pledging to retaliate and defend those workers.
Fain continued to criticize the automaker claiming that “Stellantis can afford to do the right thing here and provide a pathway to full-time good auto jobs.”
Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson confirmed the company’s layoffs in an email, which states:
“As part of our routine business operations, Stellantis ensures our manufacturing facilities operate as efficiently as possible by routinely analyzing staffing levels. With immediate effect, the company is decreasing the number of Supplemental Employees throughout a large portion of our U.S. presence in response to an operational evaluation. This move will support implementing our Dare Forward 2030 strategic strategy by enhancing our facilities’ productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness in the market.”
Fain also revealed during the livestream that UAW Vice President Chuck Browning will visit Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee factory to hold “mass meetings” and encourage unionization of the facility.
Regarding the UAW’s recent initiative to unite nonunion automakers in the South, Fain remarked, “We’re in this fight not to win it for them. We fight because we stand and fall together in solidarity in the purest sense of the word. That is the main focus of this. The South’s autoworkers in the U.S. share the same fate as Michigan’s autoworkers.”
Following the UAW’s 45-day rolling strikes against the Detroit Three automakers this past fall, Fain stated that organizing workers at American plants controlled by foreign automakers would be the union’s next goal. The UAW has always wanted to do this, but has yet to succeed.
However, workers at the so-called transplants had a renewed interest in the union when the UAW won significant concessions from General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, including pay increases and eliminating the tiered wage system.
According to Fain, almost 2,000 VW employees at the Chattanooga facility have signed union cards since last month, expressing their support for joining the UAW.
The complaint alleges that automakers attempted to obstruct union-related activities by destroying pro-union leaflets, threatening to write workers up for wearing pro-union stickers on their helmets, and seizing pro-union handouts.