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Stellantis lays off more Kokomo workers, cites storage concerns as UAW strike enters fifth week

An image of the UAW Logo carved into a stone face taken from a side angle and partially cut off on the top and bottom. The Logo consists of the letters "UAW" in the middle of a cogwheel, and the silhouettes of people holding hands in a circle around it.
Adam Yahya Rayes
IPB News
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.”

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.

READ MORE: Local UAW leaders work to 'calm' members' nerves as strike strategy enters new 'phase'

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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.

Adam is our labor and employment reporter. Contact him at arayes@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @arayesIPB.

Adam is Indiana Public Broadcasting's labor and employment reporter. He was born and raised in southeast Michigan, where he got his first job as a sandwich artist at Subway in high school. After graduating from Western Michigan University in 2019, he joined Michigan Radio's Stateside show as a production assistant. He then became the rural and small communities reporter at KUNC in Northern Colorado.