Steel Markets

United Auto Workers Strike at Ford Supplier in Michigan

Written by Laura Miller

United Auto Workers (UAW) members at a Constellium plant in Michigan are on strike after failing to reach a labor agreement with the aluminum products producer.

UAW Resized Logo160 members of UAW Local 174 at Constellium’s automotive structures plant in Van Buren, Mich., opted to strike as of May 17 “after weeks of the company refusing to bargain in good faith,” the UAW said.

“Our negotiating team has met with the company nine times since April 18,” said Laura Dickerson, UAW region 1A director. “And on every single occasion, Constellium has made it very clear they have zero interest in taking our members’ proposals seriously. This is a prime example of employer arrogance forcing the hand of its workforce.”

At issue are health and safety concerns as well as unfair discipline from management, according to the UAW.

For “bargaining in bad faith,” the union has also filed unfair labor practices against the company.

“We do not anticipate any disruption to our production and are working closely with our customers to ensure continuity of operations,” a Constellium spokesperson told SMU. “Negotiations are resuming this week and our goal is to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.”

The strike is hitting Ford’s most profitable brand, the F-150 truck, as the Michigan plant supplies six UAW-represented Ford assembly plants with parts for the Ford F-150 as well as for the F-150 Lightning, Explorer, and Super Duty.

A spokesperson for Ford could not be reached for comment.

Could this be an omen of things to come for the important steel-consuming automotive sector? The UAW’s current labor contract with the Big Three Detroit-area automakers expires this year on Sept. 14. Formal bargaining is set to begin this summer.

By Laura Miller,

Laura Miller

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