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UAW threatens strike against auto supplier Sakthi

striking UAW workers
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The United Auto Workers is threatening a strike at Sakthi Automotive Group.

The India-based auto parts supplier has more than 200 employees at two Detroit facilities. It makes safety components for automakers including GM and Ford.

The UAW says Sakthi has engaged in a number of unfair labor practices at its Detroit plants, starting prior to the union organizing workers there in 2015.

Those practices continued as the UAW and Sakthi began collective bargaining in January of this year, says UAW Local 600 Vice President and lead negotiator AJ Freer.

Freer says Sakthi has refused to bargain in good faith, repeatedly canceling sessions and coming to the table unprepared. The company also fired 52 bargaining unit employees, resulting in unfair labor practice charges affirmed by the National Labor Relations Board.

Still, Freer says workers hope to start meaningful collective bargaining with Sakthi, with talks scheduled for Thursday morning.

“The ultimate goal that we have is to find a win-win in this situation,” said Freer. “But if Sakthi Automotive is going to continue down the path that they have, we’ll have no other choice but to go to war.”

Freer said that Sakthi workers have “unanimously” authorized a strike “if necessary.”

“It’s not all about economics. It’s largely about dignity and respect in the workplace,” Freer said.

No strike date has been set, but the UAW has scheduled a protest against unfair labor practices next week.

Sakthi Automotive Group could not be reached for comment on the potential strike.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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