Auto parts workers strike Pennsylvania plant after third contract rejection

Auto parts workers strike Pennsylvania plant after third contract rejection

About 270 workers are on strike against the Autoneum AG auto parts plant in Bloomsburg,

About 270 workers are on strike against the Autoneum AG auto parts plant in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, after overwhelmingly voting down a third and “final” contract, which would have imposed a major health care increase on a workforce already suffering under the effects of inflation.

The striking workers are members of Local 1700 Workers United, which is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They have been without a contract since April.

Autoneum, a Switzerland-based parts provider, manufactures internal and external sound and heat insulation systems for General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Stellantis, among other manufacturers. The company has 10 locations in the US and a global workforce of nearly 12,000 at 53 facilities on five continents.

Pickets at Autoneum (Workers United Mid Atlantic Facebook)

The final offer from Autoneum is a provocation.

On top of regular health care increases, the company is demanding that workers accept a 5 percent increase in annual contributions. Workers already contribute 25 percent of health care premium costs. The offer from Autoneum also includes a miserly $1 raise for the first year, followed by raises of 60 cents the following two years, and 75 cents in the third year. And it excludes retroactive pay for wages lost under the old contract, whose terms continue until a new contract is in place.

Between inflation, currently at 8 percent and increased health care contributions, Autoneum is demanding, effectively, that workers accept a large pay cut.

“Where we’re at is the increase in health care costs and the raises, and we’re asking for back pay for when the contract originally expired in April,” Brian Heverly, president of Local 1700, told local media. “They’re not willing to really hear us out on any of those subjects.