Milwaukee, WI – Outside the Mopar Parts distribution center in the Bay View neighborhood, striking workers of UAW Local 75 were joined in solidarity by a crowd of hundreds to aid in their contract fight against Stellantis. On the afternoon of September 27, the Milwaukee Area Labor Council (MALC) rallied workers, community members, and union leaders to the strike line. Representatives of this broad coalition included members of the CWA, Ironworkers, Teamsters, Educators, Laborers, UFCW, AFSCME, USW, and ATU, among other unions.
The distribution facility, a near century-long staple of the Bay View neighborhood and represented by a founding local of the UAW, has been targeted as a possible site for closure by parent corporation Stellantis. This is a part of a larger strategy by the Big 3 automotive corporations to cut labor costs and consolidate their holdings in the Midwest, at the expense of workers. On the picket line, workers are standing up against displacement from their homes, the constant reduction of their compensation in the face of inflation, and the possibility of being forced into an early retirement.
A crucial part of this plan by the Big 3 automotive companies is to maintain a tiered labor force. Nick Romano, the president of the Local 75 retiree’s chapter, spoke on the vital demand to eliminate tiers.
“There’s nothing worse than a union divider, than two-tier. There’s nothing worse! When that person comes in, they may be a little happy. After a period of time all it does is create divisions, arguments and animosity. So let’s get tiers out! They have got to go!” said Romano.
Local 75 workers led chants of “No contract, no parts!” and “When union jobs are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” to bring up the mood of the picketers on the rainy afternoon. Despite the gloomy weather, working class unity brightened the days of the workers and those gathered in solidarity. Romano, the head of the retired workers, impressed the long-term importance of solidarity among the striking workers in their fight.
“I can tell you this, the retirees wholeheartedly support the active workers. You came from us, and the future generations will come from you,” he said.
UAW Local 75 will be on the strike line from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Monday through Friday until Stellantis comes to the bargaining table with a better offer. They welcome and encourage support from any workers who wish to join them in their fight for a contract that meets their needs.