Stellantis is bringing back a controversial working policy to keep up with high demand for the Ram 1500.
Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, pickup truck sales were still strong in 2020. Predictably, the Ford F-150 was the best-selling truck, with 787,422 F-Series units sold last year. In second place was the Chevrolet Silverado with 594,094 units sold, overtaking the Ram 1500. With the launch of the special-edition Built to Serve range and the upcoming TRX that recently entered production, demand for the Ram 1500 is increasing.
To keep up with the demand and increase production to make up for last year's shortage, Stellantis, the company created by the FCA and PSA merger, is bringing back a controversial policy that requires skilled trade workers to work 84 hours a week.
From April, skilled trade workers, which include electricians and millwrights, will be expected to work 12 hours a day for seven days a week at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, where the Ram 1500 is assembled. In return, they will have seven days off for each alternating week.
Understandably, trade workers are angry about what they feel is "abandonment of commitments to the eight-hour day" and are blaming Stellantis and the union. Workers previously expressed concerns about how these grueling working hours will affect their benefits, so an alternative work schedule was allowed in 2019 before the Stellantis merger.
Two options were presented by UAW Local 1700 in January. Workers voted for the seven-day working policy because it "was the least bad of the two." The other option would have allowed workers to rotate days, such as working Monday and Tuesday and having Wednesday and Thursday off before working on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Dozens of workers have complained to Detroit Free Press about the policy, saying they don't want to work 12-hour shifts over a long period multiple weekends in a month. They are also concerned about how this will affect their overtime and argue that it contradicts UAW Constitution's focus on improving working conditions and reducing working hours.