Stellantis cuts another 200 supplemental workers in Detroit as auto layoffs continue

Continuing its program of mass job cuts in the wake of the 2023 sellout contract, automaker Stellantis has cut another 229 jobs at its parts sequencing facility off Jefferson Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, near the Detroit Assembly Complex–Jefferson. The layoffs were carried out March 31 but are only now coming to light. According to a report in the Detroit News, 20 of the workers were later brought back.

There were earlier reports of mass firings of supplemental workers at the plant on trumped-up charges. The workers at the facility carry out the sequencing of parts for final assembly.

The impacted workers were supplemental (SE), or temporary, workers. The latest cuts follow the mass layoff of SEs at US production facilities and the firing last month of 400 salaried engineering workers. Layoffs have also hit workers at General Motors and Ford as well as workers at Stellantis facilities in Italy.

Workers at the Stellantis Detroit Assembly Complex–Jefferson [Photo by Stellantis]

The layoffs of parts sequencing workers follows the layoff of 2,453 workers February 5 at Detroit Assembly Complex–Mack, including 750 SEs, and about 341 SEs at the Toledo Assembly Complex that builds the Jeep Wranglers and Gladiators in Ohio. Many workers from the Jeep complex had been forced to relocate to the Detroit parts sequencing facility.

The cuts hitting Stellantis SEs are a particularly hard pill to swallow since they had been promised full-time jobs under the 2023 contact. Some had been stuck in supplemental status for years, often working irregular hours, earning lower pay and having fewer benefits.

On March 2 a group of Stellantis SEs held a picket outside the UAW’s Solidarity House headquarters in Detroit to protest the layoffs and the collaboration of the union with corporate management in carrying out the mass firing of SE workers.

In March, following the mass firings at the Toledo Assembly Complex, workers at the plant staged a mass sickout to protest the mass firing of SEs. Workers also circulated a petition at the plant demanding an end to the mass layoffs and the rehiring of laid-off workers with full back pay and the restoration of their previous service date.

The layoffs at Stellantis’ Detroit parts sequencing facility follow the announcement of layoffs by Warren, Michigan-based Universal Logistics, which contracts with Stellantis, at another parts sequencing plant on Georgia Street in Detroit. The cuts involve 677 workers, including 230 truck drivers employed by subsidiary Universal Dedicated and another 447 inside workers employed by Logistics Insights. The workers are all covered under a contract by Teamsters Local 299 and are set to be laid off May 31. The union has done nothing to fight for these workers. A Teamsters official merely said, “We’re still working with our employer to save these jobs.”

A Teamsters official claimed Stellantis had revoked the contract with Universal in order to give it to a nonunion firm paying even lower wages as a cost saving move.

In addition to the layoffs of Stellantis Toledo Jeep workers, about 70 workers at the KUKA facility that makes chassis for the Gladiators at the Toledo Assembly Complex were laid off along with another 80 at Syncreon, which does parts sequencing. The workers are members of the UAW but are paid substantially less than Stellantis assembly plant workers.

The continuing cuts and the refusal of the UAW to wage any fight have angered autoworkers. The latest report of layoffs comes as UAW President Shawn Fain wined and dined with corporate CEOs at a lavish White House reception Wednesday as part of a state visit by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Japan’s support is seen as critical for US war plans against China. The Biden administration sees the UAW as another critical part of US war plans, securing the “home front” by suppressing strikes and other forms of social opposition.

Fain’s rubbing shoulders with billionaires is ironic and revealing. During the the 2023 contract talks Fain had demagogically posed as a foe of the billionaires, wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Eat the Rich” during one strike update livestreamed on Facebook.

A Stellantis worker from Kokomo, Indiana who recently lost their job told the World Socialist Web Site, “It makes me sick. When he (Fain) wore that shirt (“Eat the Rich”) he meant eat WITH the rich. He should ask for his money back for the misprint.”

A salaried worker at the Stellantis tech center outside Detroit, a member of UAW Local 412 where 400 jobs were recently cut, said, “Carlos Tavares, our CEO who whined and complained about giving us a raise, all of a sudden gets $25 million for his yearly pay. Come on, really? And you’re going to tell me you’re going to get $25 million and all I’m asking for is a 25 percent raise?

“I work in instrumentation engineering and what we do is work mostly on things like dynamometers; we keep them running so they can test the engines.

“I’m an electronics tech so basically before the layoff we were busy every day; we were getting overtime. Then the company went ahead and laid off 400 in engineering and my particular department has 11 members and they laid off six engineers. Now, because there’s a lack of engineers, I spend most of my time sitting.

“I think there’s going to be another wave of nonunion people. In this first layoff, no managers were laid off. I’m going to guarantee you that with this next layoff upper management is going to get hit, and middle management.

“The management changed the parameters of the profit sharing check. To get a full profit sharing check you used to have to be on the rolls through October 31st. The new language reads, and nobody told us that, is that you if you want to get a profit sharing check at all you have to be on the rolls on December 31st, last day of the year.

“The company can’t just arbitrarily do this unless it’s been negotiated. Apparently Sean Fain did that to us, but didn’t tell us.”