The Stellantis casting plant in Kokomo, Indiana saw more than 1,000 workers leave Saturday due to unsafe working conditions. According to a statement from UAW Local 1166, Stellantis has not responded to requests to “repair, replace and maintain HVAC systems (which the company promised to do years ago), resolve other health and safety issues, provide clean uniforms like this made for workers in other factories and set some work rules.
According to Stellantis, the Kokomo casting plant is the world’s largest die-casting facility and manufactures aluminum engine and transmission parts for several vehicles. Without these coins being made, Stellantis could feel pressure pretty quickly, so you can expect representatives from both sides at the table to negotiate soon.
UAW Local 1166 is particularly frustrated that Stellantis cites costs as a reason for not responding to UAW demands. Stellantis says it has no money to meet basic needs of UAW Local 1166 members while at the same time making record profits and investing billions in new factory batteries across the street,” the UAW vice president and director said. Stellantis Department Cindy Estrada.
The battery plant that Estrada was talking about was announced in July. Stellantis and Samsung have both announced plans to invest $2.5 billion in a battery factory in Kokomo, near the molding plant. In August, Stellantis also reportedly invested $99 million in three plants, including the Kokomo plant, to build hybrid powertrain components.
“After negotiating in good faith for two days and presenting an offer that we believe addressed the union’s concerns, we are disappointed with the UAW’s decision to walk away,” Stellantis said in a statement, according to Automotive News. “We will seek to return to the table as soon as possible to resume negotiations to reach an agreement on a local contract.”
It’s hard to argue with employees who want things like a working HVAC and clean work environments. Hopefully the two parties can reach an agreement, so that more than 1,000 employees can return to work in a safe and hospitable workplace.