SALINE, Mich.—Nearly 2,000 hourly workers at a Faurecia plant in Saline ended a strike after nine hours when the United Auto Workers union and the company announced a tentative contract agreement.
The plant, which employs 1,900 members of UAW Local 892, supplies interior parts to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Co. and Tesla Inc., the UAW said.
Workers were told to report for the afternoon shift at 3 p.m. The UAW scheduled a town hall meeting with members in Saline on June 21.
Pickets were out in force earlier on June 21, stationed at every plant entrance, cheering and chanting "8-9-2" while car horns blared. Vehicles could come and go through the main gate with no altercations. There was a strong security presence and local police were standing by. Several pickets, when interviewed, said the strike was about working conditions at the plant as much as it was about pay and benefits.
"We're working hard, but they are treating us like dogs," said Goran Stankovic, who works on a line that supplies consoles to the Ford Mustang. He said he's been working at the plant since 2012. "This plant is making $1 billion a year (in revenue) and there's no profit sharing. It's all about quantity, not quality. It's all about the numbers."
Dwayne Harris, a rank-and-file member for five years, said the plant is turning over workers at a rapid pace. "Between 2,000 and 5,000 people work here every year," he said while picketing with fellow workers.
There were no immediate comments from the UAW and Faurecia about terms of the new contract.
The 2015 four-year contract was extended for three weeks on June 1 by company and union officials.
As of 2015, the plant generated about $1.1 billion in annual sales, according to reports at the time.
The plant, built by Ford in 1966, covers 1.6 million square feet in the small town south of Ann Arbor, Mich. It later became part of supplier Visteon Corp. when the Ford parts unit spun off from the parent company in 2000. Following years of red ink at Visteon, the plant went through another ownership change before Faurecia acquired it in 2012. Several upgrades took place at the plant in 2015, Automotive News reported at the time.
Under the 2015 contract, wages for new line workers begin at $12 an hour and top out at $17.50 in four years. Skilled workers' pay starts at $28 an hour and top out at $32.
Plant workers and their supporters have been complaining about conditions inside the plant on Saline social media sites for several months, but neither the company nor officials at the union local would answer questions June 20. According to a source familiar with the conditions, the plant has experienced plumbing issues and needed to bring in portable restrooms at one point earlier this year.
Several workers picketing on June 21 complained about plant conditions, particularly a leaky roof during what's been a very wet and rainy spring in Michigan.
Pickets chanted: "Fix the roof! Fix the roof!"
Faurecia, based in Nanterre, France, ranks No. 10 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to auto makers of $19.17 billion in 2017. Faurecia North America Inc. posted estimated injection molding sales of $170 million, ranking No. 55 on Plastics News' most recent listing.
The Saline plant is one of five Faurecia injection molding facilities in North America with two others in Michigan, in Sterling Heights and Fraser, one in Fountain Inn, S.C., and one in Puebla, Mexico.