UAW workers strike at Stellantis plant in Indiana

DETROIT — United Auto Workers union members went on strike Saturday at Stellanti’s casting plant in Indiana, citing health and safety concerns, including the company’s alleged refusal to repair and replace the plant’s air conditioning and heating systems.

The 35-acre facility in Kokomo makes parts used in the powertrains of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM vehicles, and a long-term strike could affect vehicle assembly lines across North America.

Stellantis says production was not scheduled for this weekend and that they hoped to resume negotiations as soon as possible on a contract with striking UAW Local 1[ads1]166.

In a statement, Stellantis said it was committed to “providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. After negotiating in good faith for two days and presenting an offer we believed addressed the union’s concerns, we are disappointed by the UAW’s decision to walk out.”

The factory with 1,200 workers, Kokomo Casting, is the world’s largest casting facility, according to Stellantis. It makes aluminum parts for components, including transmissions and engine blocks.

The UAW local complained in a statement that Stellantis “claims they don’t have the money to meet their membership’s basic needs” — including providing clean uniforms — while “earning record profits and investing billions in a new battery facility across the street.”

In May, Stellantis announced a $2.5 billion joint venture with Samsung to build an electric vehicle battery factory in Kokomo that will employ 1,400 workers.

UAW local president David Willis did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. A person who answered the phone at the union’s offices said he was preparing for negotiations to resume.

The casting plant will be retooled to produce engine blocks for hybrid-electric vehicles.

Stellantis, formed last year with the merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Peugeot, had said it would build two battery factories for electric vehicles in North America. The other is slated for Windsor, Ontario.

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