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Workers at Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo part of the ongoing United Auto Workers strike


Workers at Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo part of the ongoing United Auto Workers strike

Sep 20, 2023 | 4:50 am ET
By Megan Henry
Workers at Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo part of the ongoing United Auto Workers strike
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-OH, visited the Stellantis Jeep plant's picket line. The United Auto Workers went on strike Thursday at midnight. (Photo from Marcy Kaptur).

Thousands of workers at the Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo are striking as part of the ongoing United Auto Workers (UAW) strike.  

The strike started Thursday at midnight after contract negotiations failed with the “Detroit Three” auto manufacturers: Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.

The Toledo Assembly Complex makes the Jeep Gladiator and Jeep Wrangler, and employs 5,506 people on two shifts, according to Stellantis. The workers are part of United Auto Workers Local 12.

It is estimated that Ohio has 16,240 Detroit Three UAW workers — 6,394 Ford workers, 3,840 GM workers and 6,006 Stellantis workers, according to a new report by University of Michigan economists published last week ahead of the strike. 

UAW strike

In addition to the Toledo Jeep plant, Ford’s Michigan Assembly and GM’s Wentzville plant in Missouri are also striking. UAW is using a “stand up strike” plan, meaning certain plants will be informed to “stand up and walk out” instead of all plants striking together.

UAW represents nearly 150,000 American auto workers and about 12,700 workers are currently striking. 

The union is asking for 32 hour work weeks, a 36% pay increase over four years (down from their original 40% request) and improved benefits. 

On Sunday, UAW President Shawn Fain rejected Stellantis’ offer to increase workers’ pay 21% over four years. Ford and GM have offered 20% raises over four years. 

“It’s definitely a no-go,” Fain said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Profits at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis have grown 92% from 2013 to 2022, totaling $250 billion, according to the Economic Policy Institute. During that time, the CEOs at Ford, GM and Stellantis have seen their salary jump 40%.

How Ohio lawmakers are responding

Workers at Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo part of the ongoing United Auto Workers strike
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, D-OH, visited the picket line at the Stellantis’ Toledo Assembly Complex on Sept. 15. (Photo provided by Sherrod Brown).

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, D-OH, and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-OH, visited the Toledo picket line. 

“Ohioans stand in solidarity with autoworkers around our state as they demand the Big 3 automakers respect the work they do to make these companies successful,” Brown said in a statement. “The Big 3 are making record profits – all workers are asking for is their fair share. The companies need to bargain in good faith and agree to a fair contract that honors the Dignity of Work.”

Kaptur is from a UAW family and her father retired from Jeep in 1969.

“These companies are earning billions and billions and billions of dollars,” she said in a video posted to Twitter. “And the workers who sustained injuries, who come in everyday and work 10-12 hours a day, deserve a fair share. … The people that work in these plants, their work is their livelihood. It is their life, so the labor contract is critical that they earn a decent wage.”

Ohio Democrat party leaders also support the UAW strike.

“For generations, auto workers have represented some of America’s greatest qualities-  hard work, sacrifice, patriotism,” House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington said in a statement. “I stand in solidarity with the men and women of the UAW on the picket lines in Toledo, and everywhere. It’s time the automakers put people over profits and pay workers a fair wage and give them a fair contract.” 

Senate Minority Leader Nickie J. Antonio, D-Lakewood, released a similar statement.

“I wholeheartedly support the ability of workers to strike for higher wages, improved working conditions and better benefits,” she said. “As corporate profits have surged in recent years, it is well within the right of laborers to demand more for their work. I encourage both sides to negotiate in good faith and come to a fair agreement. I stand with our brothers and sisters of the UAW and hope for a speedy resolution.”

What Stellantis is saying

Stellantis released a statement Friday saying, “We are extremely disappointed by the UAW leadership’s refusal to engage in a responsible manner to reach a fair agreement in the best interest of our employees, their families and our customers. We immediately put the Company in contingency mode and will take all the appropriate structural decisions to protect our North American operations and the Company.”

Follow OCJ Reporter Megan Henry on Twitter.