Stellantis lays off more Kokomo workers, cites storage concerns as UAW strike enters fifth week
Stellantis, parent company of Jeep and Chrysler, is temporarily laying off more workers across two plants in Kokomo. The layoffs come almost five weeks after the United Auto Workers union began its strike at a Stellantis assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio.
The two Kokomo plants produce castings and transmissions, many of which are used to make Jeeps in the Toledo assembly plant. A week after the strike began, Stellantis announced 300 of those plants’ workers would be temporarily laid off. Without the assembly using the parts built in Kokomo, the company says it had to reduce production due to “storage constraints.”
The company says it's still facing the same issue now.
In a statement announcing additional layoffs Friday, Stellantis said "these plants have reached maximum inventory levels of the parts or components they supply for the Jeep Wrangler or Jeep Gladiator."
As of Friday, about 830 people have been taken off the Kokomo production lines. They will likely return to work once the strike ends. The affected workers are in the Kokomo Transmission Plant and Kokomo Casting Plant. Stellantis's other three plants in the Kokomo area have not been affected so far.
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In past statements, the UAW called strike-related layoffs at Stellantis, Ford and General Motors a choice and an attempt to “squeeze” members to “settle for less.”
"With their record profits, they don’t have to lay off a single employee," the union said, in a Sept. 19 statement. "In fact, they could double every autoworker’s pay, not raise car prices, and still rake in billions of dollars."
Workers who are laid off because of their own union’s strike are generally not able to get unemployment benefits in Indiana. So the UAW is giving its laid-off members $500 a week, equivalent to the pay striking workers get.