Workers remain on the picket line in Mansfield as UAW strike intensifies

The United Auto Workers strike has shifted into excessive gear with 7,000 extra staff strolling off the job as almost 4 dozen staff on the Stellantis facility in Mansfield hit the picket line.

Union President Shawn Fain, talking Friday by way of Facebook Live, ordered staff to strike in Illinois and Michigan to place extra strain on Ford and General Motors, whereas Jeep and Ram maker Stellantis was spared from the third spherical of strikes.

Stellantis made important progress, Fain mentioned, moments earlier than his look on Facebook Live by agreeing to unspecified cost-of-living raises, the appropriate to not cross a picket line and the appropriate to strike over plant closures.

Patrick Lozeau, monetary secretary for the native union in Mansfield, didn’t know precisely what modified for the strike to not increase even additional at Stellantis. He and his colleagues walked off the job Sept. 22, when staff at 38 vegetation in 20 states joined the UAW strike, which commenced Sept. 15 after contracts expired.

Lozeau and his colleagues braved the rain Friday as they marched in circles holding “UAW ON STRIKE” indicators alongside a big inflatable rat, shaming scabs who crossed the picket line to proceed working.

Despite the constructive growth with Stellantis, Lozeau mentioned he believes it’s solely a matter of time till the larger group feels the brunt of the strike.

“Unfortunately, because of the corporation, if they drive a Stellantis vehicle, they’re going to have a hard time getting parts shortly because they can only do so much by themselves,” mentioned Lozeau, who has labored on the Mansfield facility for 23 years. “I don’t want that to happen. I actually care about my customers. I care about my job. I come to work every day for them and for myself, but unfortunately, they are going to be impacted by this.”

The largest sticking level as of Friday, Lozeau mentioned, is that Stellantis nonetheless has 70% of its staff at what Lozeau described as “second tier,” that means they’ll’t make greater than $25 per hour and so they have fewer retirement advantages.

Lozeau is taken into account a ‘legacy worker’ as he earns a pension, however about 20 of his colleagues even have a pension and make $31.50 per hour, whereas these beneath him max out at $25 per hour, he mentioned. Employees who’re much less skilled however are nonetheless in development make between $17 to $19 per hour for eight years till they’ve labored no less than eight years.

He mentioned he’d like for there to be a good taking part in area throughout the board by way of pay and advantages, particularly for the youthful staff.  Lozeau highlighted how he made sufficient for his spouse to remain dwelling to maintain their kids and produce them to and from college day-after-day.

“They always had a parent there for them, 24/7, no matter what,” he mentioned. “A lot of these guys can’t afford to do that. They are working two jobs already, their wife is already working, and they’re still not secure.”

Automakers have lengthy mentioned that they’re prepared to offer raises, however they concern {that a} pricey contract will drive up automobile costs, making them costlier than fashions made at nonunion U.S. vegetation run by international automakers, largely within the south.

The union counters that labor prices are solely 4% to five% of the price of a automobile, and that the businesses are making billions in earnings and may afford huge raises.

Stellantis, which till Friday had been the goal of Fain’s ire within the talks, mentioned it’s dedicated to “working through these issues in an expeditious manner to reach a fair and responsible agreement.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Auto staff strike outdoors the Stellantis Mopar Parts Distribution Center in Mansfield. (Matt Stone/Boston Herald)