Detroit Stellantis Mack workers issue statement: “Support Will Lehman for UAW president!”

The following statement was issued by the Stellantis Mack Assembly Rank-and-File Election Committee. The committee was recently formed by workers at Stellantis’ Detroit Assembly Complex – Mack (DACM) plant, following the founding of the Chicago Ford Workers Rank-and-File Election Committee. DACM, which opened for production in 2021, employs more than 5,000 workers on three shifts.

To contact the committee about getting involved, email mackrfc@gmail.com.

Lehman’s campaign is holding a final election rally on Sunday, November 6, at 2:00 p.m. ET. All workers are encouraged to register and attend. For more information on the campaign, visit WillForUAWPresident.org.


Brothers and sisters,

The Mack Assembly Rank-and-File Election Committee is supporting the election of second-tier Mack Trucks worker Will Lehman for UAW president.

Will is fighting for us. He wants to build a mass movement to abolish the corrupt UAW bureaucracy and put rank-and-file workers in power. Make your vote count and vote for Will Lehman!

The other candidates like Ray Curry and Shawn Fain talk about their “experience,” but it is experience selling us out. They were all exposed during the UAW presidential candidates’ debate by Will. The same people who got rid of our COLA and pensions and froze our wages for 10 years are asking for our vote. They were all in office and said nothing when Dennis Williams and Gary Jones were stealing our dues. It is not a few “bad apples,” it is the whole rotten bunch and they all need to go.

Workers are turning to Will because he tells the truth about what workers like us are really facing. Autoworkers are becoming a low-wage workforce. Fast food restaurants are paying $16-$17 an hour, but temps at Stellantis are starting at $15.81. With inflation running at over 8 percent that is a poverty wage. We have to struggle just to buy food.

Many younger workers don’t make enough to buy a home or to afford to live on their own like previous generations were able to. It is very common for workers to have two or even three jobs to make ends meet. The real wages for those at top pay have steadily eroded due to inflation.

Corporations are buying up houses in Detroit and jacking up rents, and in the suburbs too. People are literally losing their houses left and right. The working class is going through a recession, but not the auto companies. The government bailed out Chrysler in 2009 and since then the company, now Stellantis, has made record profits off of our labor. But instead of returning the concessions they made, the UAW bureaucracy has handed over even more concessions.

Previous sellout contracts have allowed the company to hire unlimited numbers of temporary part-time workers (TPT), now called “Supplementals.” We have over 1,000 TPTs at Mack. TPTs work all year round and get no bonuses or profit sharing. TPTs have to wait two years to be converted to full-time as second-tier workers only to wait another six years “in progression” to get to top pay. Management wants to fill all the plants with TPTs to save money all around.

While TPTs are expected to come to work every day and face all kinds of threats and intimidation, to add insult to injury, the TPTs have to pay dues to the UAW but cannot get any representation from the union. The UAW is trying to scare the TPTs by telling them not to vote in the election, when it is their right under the rules set by the UAW Monitor.

At Mack, the UAW apparatus is colluding with management against us. They are forcing people to do jobs they are not supposed to be doing. They have management forcing people to drive vehicles even if they don’t have a license.

There has been a lot of other harassment. TPTs have been threatened left and right, and some of them have been fired. Senior workers too are facing increasing harassment from management. When we go to union officials all they say is what management can do, but they never show us the contract language. The union reps give us the runaround if we try to file a grievance. You can’t go to anyone to report this, because everyone in the UAW leadership is working with management.

From the stewards up to the local president, no one is doing their job. We get threatened at union meetings for speaking up. When you call the international, they give you the runaround too, and hope you get tired and give up.

Now we are being made to fear for our jobs. They told us at one meeting that investors are dissatisfied and would close the plant. Not long ago they were talking about cutting the third shift at Mack. We are being told if we don’t improve quality and decrease absenteeism our jobs may be at stake. We are being blamed for something that is not our responsibility. It is management that refuses to stop the line to fix problems with vehicles. As far as absences, they pay workers so little there is hardly an incentive to come to work.

We have heard that Stellantis will be bringing people over from Trenton Engine and Warren Truck. Most likely the low-seniority people will be laid off, but the UAW is not telling us anything. You can’t squeeze extra people in the plant, so we know that some of us will lose our jobs.

The company and the UAW bureaucracy are playing games with peoples’ lives. They are not allowing people to transfer from department to department. We face harassment and threats that are creating a hostile work environment.

Nothing is won without struggle. Everyone has got to draw a line in the sand. We will be slaves if we don’t. We have to mobilize and do what we have to do to stop this.

We fully support the demands that Will is raising in his campaign:

  • End the tiers and get us all on the same level, with equal pay for equal work. Convert all temps to full time immediately.
  • Fifty percent pay increase and the restoration of COLA, especially after the concession contracts imposed on us by the UAW bureaucracy for decades.
  • Triple time for any overtime after every eight hours we work, and no more mandatory overtime. We need the eight-hour day restored and the Alternative Work Schedule removed. Workers should be able to live on one paycheck, not multiple jobs.
  • We need paid sick leave and time off when we need it. We should not have to use our vacation days for shutdowns.
  • Everyone should have a pension. The only way to guarantee retirees will keep their pensions is give pensions to new hires as well.
  • We need to have rank-and-file control over our own safety. We should be able to stop production if conditions are not safe.

If you agree with what we’re fighting for, join our committee! We, the rank and file, are the only ones who can fight for our interests because the UAW bureaucracy will not defend our needs.