Stellantis NV, the maker of Jeep, is seeking the unilateral right to sell its headquarters and technical center in Auburn Hills, one of 18 facilities it has suggested it could sell or close as part of its latest bid to the United Auto Workers, according to two sources familiar with the information. .
The right to sell the automaker’s transatlantic North American headquarters that features Chrysler’s Pentastar logo does not mean the automaker is abandoning Auburn Hills, according to one source who requested anonymity without permission to speak publicly on the matter. But it will offer the company flexibility and options for the future of the 500-acre campus that includes laboratories, engineering facilities and design studios in a hybrid workplace. For example, they can sell the property and rent it back.
The proposal was included in Stellantis’ fourth counteroffer to the union Thursday evening before a strike was announced at the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator plant in Toledo, Ohio, along with Ford Motor Co.’s Bronco and Ranger plant in Wayne and General Motors Co. Wentzville’s midsize pickup and commercial truck manufacturer outside St. Louis.
The UAW represents salaried employees at its Auburn Hills headquarters. As a result, the union will have to approve a proposal that would allow Stellantis to sell the site that previously served as Chrysler LLC’s global headquarters.
In a statement issued late Monday, Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel said, “We are proud to be the home of Stellantis’ North American headquarters. As Stellantis stands as the largest employer in our thriving community, we recognize the importance of addressing the recent reports surrounding “By accident.” Closing 18 US facilities We have not yet received any indications or information indicating that Stellantis intends to close its headquarters in our city.
Mark Stewart, Stellantis’ North American chief operating officer, said Saturday that the selected locations are mostly Mopar parts distribution centers that the company is looking to modernize, but will not result in job cuts. The company has 20 centers in the United States, and 10 of them are on the list of 18 locations.
Stewart also mentioned underutilized locations. This includes, according to sources, the Trenton Engine Complex, which employs more than 600 hourly workers and whose north building is already idle and being used for storage.
In addition, Tipton Transmission in Indiana, where approximately 300 workers each hour produce nine-speed transmissions also built at the nearby Indiana Transmission plant in nearby Kokomo, is on the list. Workers will be able to transport.
Stellantis will also be able to close the idled Mount Elliott Tool & Die facility in Detroit.
The defunct Jeep Cherokee plant in Belvidere, Illinois, was also on that list. Stellantis’ offer, though, included an unspecified “solution” for the mothballed Cherokee plant that was on the table if an agreement could be reached before the previous contract with the UAW expired one minute before midnight Thursday, Stewart said. The proposal was to use this site for a large distribution center for Mopar, sources said.
The UAW rejected that offer before the deadline and countered it with its own offer, which Stewart said was not affordable. The union and Stellantis resumed talks Monday after the UAW met with Ford and GM over the weekend.
“The discussion was constructive and focused on where we can find common ground to reach an agreement that provides a bridge to the future by enabling the company to address its electrification challenges,” a statement from Stellantis said. “Together with the UAW, we have the opportunity to establish a framework in this contract that will allow the company to be competitive during this historic transition and bring our workforce on this journey. This includes defining a solution for Belvidere, something we have been committed to doing.” “From the beginning and the discussion we want to continue with the UAW.”
Mopar’s 10 parts distribution centers include three in Michigan: Center Line, Marysville and Warren. The other companies are Atlanta BDC, Boston BDC, Chicago BDC, Milwaukee BDC, New York BDC, Orlando BDC, and Sherwood BDC. The company could open new centers in Fishkill, New York, and Macon, Georgia.
“These are either facilities that have been down for a long time, or they are parts distribution centers — PDCs — but they are much older and we need to update them, or they may be in the wrong location,” Stewart said during a roundtable. “Now we’re looking at our distribution chain and being able to get things to our customers more effectively faster and better cost structure from a transportation standpoint, we need to make investments in Mopar, and so in many cases, that’s not happening.” It doesn’t make sense to do With these investments in the location where they are located.”
CNBC He was the first to publish details of the 18 facilities.
Stellantis in May 2021 announced a more flexible workplace model it called “A New Era of Agility” for the 15,000 salaried employees assigned to work at its Auburn Hills campus at the time. It has been estimated that on average, 70% of an employee’s time will be spent working remotely and the rest in the office. Following the move, Stewart said she is re-evaluating her real estate portfolio, including potentially leasing space at the headquarters.
“The Chrysler Technology Center will remain our North American headquarters and technical center in North America,” the company said at the time.
Michigan Economic Development Corp. spokesman Otie McKinley declined to comment on ongoing negotiations, but said Michigan and Stellantis are “synonymous with each other.”
An Oakland County spokesman declined to comment on the reports.
Stellantis’ Thursday offer to the union also included cumulative pay increases of 21% (19.5% not compounded), a four-year advancement to the highest wage, a starting wage of $20 per hour for additional employees and $1 billion in additional retirement benefits for employees and retirees.
After negotiations this weekend, UAW President Sean Fine on Monday morning told NPR that there is still a long way to go before the union reaches tentative agreements with companies and ends the strikes.
“We made full offers to the three companies before the strike deadline, and we already had minimal talks over the weekend,” he said. “The ball is still in their court, so we will continue to move as we have and see how things develop.”
Read more: Where the UAW and the Detroit Three automakers stand on key issues
The union has threatened the possibility of adding more sites depending on how talks proceed in what it calls a “standby strike” strategy, though Fein declined to say whether that could happen soon. He pointed out that the Union presented to the automakers the demands of its members, including economic proposals, in the week of July 30.
“We’ve been very frank from day one more than eight weeks ago when we started negotiating with businesses, and we said… if they expect to wait until the last minute and start negotiating, they will find they will be disappointed, because we expected to respond to our members’ demands and take care of business in a timely manner. “It’s early, so we won’t be in this situation.” “Companies chose not to do this, so they waited until last week to actually start talking, so we have a long way to go, and if the company does not respect our workers’ demands, we will escalate actions.”
As a result of the strike, Ford on Friday laid off the rest of its 600 workers at its Michigan assembly plant in Wayne, with only assembly and paint shop workers being let go by the union. General Motors said its Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas, where it makes the Chevrolet Malibu sedan and Cadillac XT4 SUV, could shut down operations this week as a result of the strike in Wentzville. Workers who do not qualify for unemployment will receive $500 per week like striking UAW members.
“This is a choice that companies have made,” Fine said of the layoffs. “Companies did not have to lay off these workers. It was a choice. They are trying to intimidate workers, but we will take care of our workers, no matter what we have to do.”
Fine said the 20% non-compound pay increases offered by automakers are “not enough,” after what the union sacrificed to bail out companies during the Great Recession and bankruptcies. The UAW originally requested a 40% non-compound pay increase (46% composite), which has since dropped to 36%.
Eliminating the tiers remains one of the key issues on which agreement between the two parties remains fraught, Fine said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The companies have proposed cutting the timeline for reaching the highest pay to four years, down from eight, while the UAW wants it to take just 90 days.
The White House said on Sunday it would send top aides to President Joe Biden to Detroit to help reach an agreement.
“This fight is not about the president,” Fine told MSNBC. “This is not about the former president or anyone else before that. This fight is about workers standing up for economic and social justice and getting their fair share because they’re tired of being pushed back.”
The same auto workers who were on strike over aid from the Biden administration were divided.
“That’s not a problem,” said Phil Lozier, 52, of Canton, a UAW representative to members at Ford’s Michigan assembly plant in Wayne. “Biden is pro-labor. We’re in good shape.”
But Lumingo McGee, 51, of Macomb, an 11-year metal line worker, says the members who did the job should be negotiating an agreement, not outsiders.
“They weren’t here,” she said. “They didn’t work all day on those concrete floors. They didn’t get paid what we were paid and tried to pay their bills.”
Meanwhile, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, a Republican running for president, on Monday criticized the United Workers Union and its strike against the Detroit Three during a campaign event in Iowa. NBC News reported.
“I think Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to go on strike. He said, ‘If you go on strike, you’re going to get fired,’” Scott said. “Simple concept to me. To the extent we can use that again, sure.
Staff writer Kalia Hall contributed.
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