MANSFIELD — Fifty workers at a Stellantis parts distribution facility here walked off the job at noon Friday as employees at 38 plants in 20 states joined the UAW strike, the labor group’s leader said.
In a video message posted to social media, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said the Mansfield facility was among the plants across the country affected. The Mansfield plant has about 60 employees, according to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group.
The workers marched in a circle in front of the entrance to the plant, chanting “We are the union, the mighty, mighty union” and eliciting honks from passing cars.
”We are working next to people who are making a lot less money than the senior people are,” said Local 422 president Mike Hohmann. “They don’t have pensions, they pay larger health care deductibles. For some people, it’s better than others.”
At one point during the picket, a large delivery truck pulled into the driveway, slowly bumping against demonstrators as it made its way to the facility.
”Back up, a--hole!” one striking worker said.
”Get your truck away from us, a--hole!” another said, slamming the hood of the truck with his hand. “I am going to [expletive] sue your [expletive].”
Around 2 p.m., Senator Elizabeth Warren arrived with boxes of Dunkin’ doughnuts.
”I wish you didn’t have to be out here, I know you’d like to be doing your work, but only if they are going to give you a fair contract,” she said, greeting workers at the roadside protest. “Now, can I have a sign and walk with you a little?”
She grabbed a blue “UAW ON STRIKE” picket sign and joined the circle.
“We’re out here picketing, and we’ll be out here until we get a fair contract,” said Brandon Mancilla, director of UAW region 9A. “The entire working class deserves to get their fair share of the profits that they produce in this country. … People are totally precarious and have no security at work. The strike is highlighting all those issues for workers across the country.”
Mancilla said workers at the plant earn hourly rates of between $18 and $30.
A striking worker at the plant, George Berrios, said by phone that he and his coworkers are prepared to stay on the picket line “as long as it takes.”
“Everybody has to compromise a little bit to come to an agreement,” Berrios, 70, said. “We’ve given up a lot in the past, and we haven’t gotten anything back. ... They’ve got to try to end this corporate greed that’s going on.”
Warren had earlier said that she stood “in solidarity with UAW workers expanding their strike.”
“The Big Three auto companies have raked in record profits and auto workers deserve a record contact,” she posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Senator Ed Markey also tweeted out support for the strikers.
“Fairer wages,” Markey wrote. “Stronger protections. I am in solidarity with the UAW Local 422 workers on strike today at Stellantis in Massachusetts and at General Motors and Ford all across the country.”
I stand in solidarity with @UAW workers expanding their strike, including at the Stellantis center in Mansfield, Massachusetts.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 22, 2023
The Big Three auto companies have raked in record profits and auto workers deserve a record contact. https://t.co/B6MaDNEk53
The workers union is pointing to the automakers’ huge recent profits as it seeks wage increases of 36 percent over four years. The companies have offered a little over half that amount. The UAW has other demands, including a 32-hour work week for 40 hours of pay and a restoration of traditional pension plans for newer workers.
The car companies say they can’t afford to meet the union’s demands because they need to invest profits in a costly transition from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles.
The UAW’s contract with the automakers expired at midnight on Sept. 14 and workers walked out of a Ford assembly plant near Detroit, a GM factory in Wentzville, Mo., and a Jeep plant run by Stellantis in Toledo, Ohio. The initial strike has involved about 13,000 of the union’s 146,000 members.
On Friday, the strike expanded significantly, as Fain called on workers at 38 Stellantis and GM distribution centers across 20 states to join the strike, which represents the first time the auto workers union has gone on strike against all Big Three automakers at once.
Today at noon, our members at Local 422 in Mansfield, MA, will strike. Just now, @UAW President @ShawnFainUAW called on 38 Stellantis & GM PDCs across 20 states to join the historic #StandUpUAW Strike, the first ever strike of all Big 3 automakers at the same time. pic.twitter.com/umhDIoCMsY— UAW Region 9A (@UAWRegion9A) September 22, 2023
The UAW regional account urged people to join the picket line.
“Sign up here to join our picket line in Mansfield, MA starting today at noon,” the union tweeted. “You can also join us at our NYC solidarity picket next Wednesday, 9/17 with @wgaeast, @sagaftra, & @centrallabornyc —& stay tuned for future solidarity actions.”
Sign up here to join our picket line in Mansfield, MA starting today at noon. You can also join us at our NYC solidarity picket next Wednesday, 9/17 with @wgaeast, @sagaftra, & @centrallabornyc—& stay tuned for future solidarity actions. https://t.co/JxC5dh2mhy— UAW Region 9A (@UAWRegion9A) September 22, 2023
Last week, in anticipation of Friday’s action, the Boston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America had gone to the Mansfield plant for a picketing dry run, the leftist group tweeted Sept. 15.
“DSA was at the Stellantis Parts Distribution Center practice picket in Mansfield today to support workers’ potentially transformative fight at the Big 3 automakers!” the Boston DSA tweeted at the time.
DSA was at the Stellantis Parts Distribution Center practice picket in Mansfield today to support workers' potentially transformative fight at the Big 3 automakers! 🔧✊🏼⚙️@UAW Pres. Shawn Fain called #StandUp strikes at plants in Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio at midnight 🧵(1/3) pic.twitter.com/hEw3L27Ufy— Boston DSA (@Boston_DSA) September 15, 2023
A Ford facility in Hartford is not currently on strike, but is prepared to walk out if they get called on, Mancilla said.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. This breaking story will be updated when more information is released.
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