UAW President Shawn Fain on Friday said the union's relationship with Stellantis has been "fractured" by the company's decision to indefinitely idle its Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois, with the future of the facility a likely flashpoint in upcoming contract negotiations.
"When the CEO of the company can fly over here and go to our plants and threaten our members about future product and absenteeism but can't take the time to reach out to us and have discussions with us, that's a problem," Fain said in an virtual interview with the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. "Meanwhile, we have plant closing moratoriums in our contracts; it's a flat-out black and white violation, what they're doing right now. When they take actions like that that hurt our members, things aren't going to be good."
Fain said he has not met with Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares but has delivered stern warnings to other company executives. He stopped short, however, of saying the union would automatically strike the company if the plant was not reopened.
"It's unacceptable, what they've done there," he said. "We expect things there to change."
Stellantis declined to comment.