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Stellantis-UAW Strike Talks Could Reopen Shuttered Jeep Plant as EV Battery Factory

Not only will Belvidere's 1,200 jobs come back, thousands more will be added.

Earlier in the week, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and Ford struck a historic labor deal that gave workers pay raises, cost-of-living allowances, and retirement improvements, among other things. It’s a deal that is now acting as the template for both Stellantis and GM. The former of which has now reached a tentative deal with the UAW which will also see it reopen the Belvidere, Illinois plant.

In February, Stellantis announced that it was idling its Belvidere assembly plant and, at the same time, investing $155 million into an electric vehicle plant in Indiana. However, following the UAW strike and subsequent new deal, the Belvidere plant isn’t only reopening, Stellantis is going to be adding a new electric vehicle battery plant.

“Through the power of our Stand Up Strike, we have saved Belvidere,” said UAW Vice President Rich Boyer.

When Stellantis shut the Belvidere plant down, 1,200 UAW jobs went with it. Those jobs are now coming back and, according to the UAW, thousands more will be added.

“Once again, we have achieved what just weeks ago we were told was impossible,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “Going into these negotiations, the company wanted to cut 5,000 jobs across Stellantis. Our Stand Up Strike changed that equation. Not only did we not lose those 5,000 jobs, we turned it all the way around. By the end of this agreement, Stellantis will be adding 5,000 jobs. We truly are saving the American dream.”

Illinois State Rep. Dave Vella expressed how big of a deal it is for the Belvidere plant to return. “If this comes back, and I truly believe it will, it will be transformative for the whole region. If they come in with a battery plant, it’s probably 2,000 to 3,000 jobs. That’s not even the parts and other jobs. It’s a monumental change for the area,” he said, per Automotive News.

Stellantis’ deal is similar to Ford’s, in that it offers 25% base wage increases, reinstates benefits lost during the Great Recession, and improved retirement benefits for both future and current retirees. The union will vote whether to send the agreement to its members for ratification on November 2.

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