When Stellantis Fired Temps at Toledo Jeep, We Marched on Plant Management

A group of Black and white men and women, most in red T-shirts, stand in front of the plant gates. Many carry blue and white "UAW on strike" picket signs.

Toledo Jeep workers including Ben Hinsey (back right, black hat) picketed during the Stand-Up Strike. After committing in the contract to convert temps to permanent status, Stellantis has instead terminated temps en masse at this plant and two other locations. Photo: UAW member

After we struck for six weeks last fall and won a contract that promised a path to seniority, auto workers are being screwed over again by Stellantis.

The firings were a one-two punch. First, in January, Stellantis terminated 500 temp workers—“supplementals” in the company’s jargon—in Kokomo, Indiana, and at a parts sequencing facility near its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit.

Then in March, the mass firings expanded to 341 temp workers at the Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, where I work making Jeep Wranglers and Gladiators, one of the plants that launched the Stand-Up Strike. Workers got the news that they were terminated via text message.

Under the new contract, Stellantis had agreed to convert all temporary workers to permanent roles after nine months on the job. Of all temps at Stellantis, 1,957 were converted within three months of ratification. The 900 converted at my plant were scattered across Michigan; most now face an hour-plus commute.

But after making the initial conversions to which it had committed, Stellantis fired most of the remaining temps before they could earn their nine months. Now, according to The Detroit News, United Auto Workers (UAW) officials said Stellantis will only keep around 500 temp workers on payroll, down from a high of 5,200 last fall.

After we stood together on the picket line, these terminations were a slap in the face—a reminder that the boss doesn’t stop fighting even after we win a major battle, and that an injury to one is an injury to all.

The firing of temps would mean extended hours and less job security for the remaining full-time, permanent workers. Temp workers fill scheduling gaps at Toledo Jeep, including working full-time hours if necessary. They are full members of the UAW.

And that’s why we decided to stand up, again, in solidarity with them.


After the first wave of terminations, a group of rank-and-file leaders at Toledo Jeep decided we needed to organize to fight back.

We collected signatures for a petition that the reform caucus, Unite All Workers for Democracy, was circulating company-wide for the total reinstatement of the fired temps. We walked the floor with petitions, collecting names and contact information of fellow workers who wanted justice for the temps.

While we were running our petition drive, news broke at a union meeting that Stellantis was handing down a second wave of terminations. The news confirmed our worst fears—that our plant would be hit—but it also bolstered our resolve.

We took advantage of slowed production caused by parts shortages to talk with workers face to face about the firings. We asked those who showed the most interest to join us in collecting signatures. We also posted a digital version of the petition on social media pages.


Soon we had 600 members at our plant signed on, and 1,300 company-wide. The core group of activists at the plant decided to turn up the heat by delivering the petitions to management.



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We started to contact the workers who signed. Many agreed to participate in the petition delivery, and to recruit others to join.

Once we knew people were committed, we informed union leadership that we planned on confronting leadership and asked them to have our backs. We made it clear that we would execute our plan whether they showed up or not, but emphasized that their attendance would be helpful.

We mapped out the meeting spot and the path that we would take. We planned to march on management during our first break, when all of the managers get together in an open space for a meeting. We used text message blasts to keep people informed of the plan.


The day of the march, we all met at the rally point, a designated break area, and walked together to the bosses’ meeting. Each marcher took a printed page full of signatures to hand to the shift lead.

Our designated speaker gave a speech as we delivered the sheets one by one. We also had someone assigned to hang back at the meeting spot to direct any stragglers who showed up late.

The march went smoothly, and management was quaking—visibly uncomfortable being confronted.

Afterward, workers were jubilant. This was the first time something like this was ever done at our plant, at least to the recollection of the people involved. It was a great demonstration of worker power.

Since we marched on management, the temp workers who had been terminated have been offered new jobs at the plant. They were prioritized before the company looked to hire off the street.


It is great that they get to return, but many issues are still not addressed. They’re not getting back pay, despite the disruption to their lives. And although the new contract has layoff benefits, including supplemental unemployment pay for full-time temps, Stellantis bypassed those by firing and rehiring them.

Because they were explicitly “terminated” and not laid off indefinitely, their service time is being reset to zero, so they’re back to a nine-month wait to be converted to permanent jobs. And now they all have only a part-time schedule—a reduction in hours for many.

There is so much work ahead to solve these issues and enforce the intent of the contract: a real path to seniority for supplemental employees. And we’ll continue to organize until we are all equal.

Benjamin Hinsey works at Toledo Jeep, UAW Local 12. He is a member of Unite All Workers for Democracy.