“This ‘conversion’ means remaining in a temporary position”: Part-time worker calls  for “no” vote on UAW-Stellantis deal 

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The following letter was sent to the World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter from a temporary part-time worker at the Stellantis Warren Truck Assembly Plant in suburban Detroit. 

Workers leaving Warren Truck Assembly Plant on November 3, 2023

Attention Union Brothers & Sisters,

After reviewing the Memorandum of Understanding on Supplemental Employees in the UAW-Stellantis tentative agreement, it is obvious that the elimination of the tier system has not been negotiated on our behalf as TPTs adamantly enough. It is proposed that the company continues the intentional use of temporary workers.

UAW President Shawn Fain stated that upon ratification of this year's 2023 employee contract, the abuse of temps would be eliminated. The fine print of this contract says otherwise. Current TPTs are said to be converted to full-time after ratification, some are said to be converted immediately while others are told their conversion will not exceed 9 months. Even the nine-month period can be extended if both parties agree. In other words, this “conversion” really means remaining in a temporary position. 

TPT stands for temporary part-timer, TFT stands for temporary full-timer. While this contract has partially addressed the below poverty level wages TPT union members have been forced to make do with for years it still does not grant or clarify the conversion from a temporary position to a full-time seniority position. 

Most TPTs have already been TFT employees by definition, any time we've worked 40+ hours. As a TPT our counter-offer is essentially granting us more working hours with continued lower hourly wages, inadequate contractual protections, isolated accessibility of obtainable employee benefits, the inability to have access to the educational and apprenticeship programs offered by Stellantis to be able to grow and accelerate within the company, and no real sense of job security or clarification of when to expect such. TPTs will not even receive the cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) that seniority employees will get.

Over the last 6 weeks our TPT brothers and sisters have been both economically and financially left behind and hung out to dry. Most TPTs have been unscheduled consecutively for weeks and many still remain without work. I personally have not been scheduled in 6 weeks and I’m still counting! Throughout this time, I had my electricity shut off and received a pre-eviction notice.

Through all my many attempts with the company to get scheduled hours to relieve my current situation, I was heedlessly denied. Local TPT union members have been denied badge access, the ability to work and have been without pay since the stand-up strike started. We have stood in solidarity by hanging on with all we've got. We have sacrificed so much waiting on this “record contract.”

As local members, aren't we fighting for a contract that benefits all union members? Before ratifying any tentative agreement, it should be every local union members’ priority that all members have an equal opportunity within the company’s means of employment. Most of us unknowingly accepted the ramifications of the TPT role, we took the positions available to us so we could get into the company. This is unfair and unjust. The general rule of thumb for temporary positions amongst union workers of the Big Three used to ensure job security by initiating complete rollover from TPT to a full-time seniority position after 90 working days. 

That being said this tentative agreement for TPTs is just not good enough. Considering all of the hardship we've faced throughout this negotiation thus far this proposal is not accurately compensating for what we've lost and it's not fully standing up for what we have to gain. As union members, we have the ability to make history and win a record contract that benefits all members! TPTs continue to stand strong, now in solidarity we must continue to stand strong together. TPT brothers and sisters deserve job security and longevity within the company too! 

This proposal does not ensure protection for either current or future TPTs. Labor unions were created to protect employee rights and put a stop to employee exploitation. Members fight together for better pay and working conditions. As a union, we can be influential enough to secure these imperative demands. This negotiation not only sets the standards for the current tentative agreement but for all future agreements as well. We can win a record contract that benefits all members! We are more than capable, if the rank and file stands together and fights!