The 5.4 million-square-foot Chrysler Technology Center east of I-75 and north of M-59 is among 18 facilities the automaker included in a proposal last Thursday to the UAW, according to a report from CNBC, which said the company is required to notify the UAW of any possible sales or closures of facilities where a union member works. Other Michigan plants potentially on the chopping block include the Trenton Engine Complex and Mount Elliott Tool & Die in Detroit, the report said.
Like many office buildings around town — including General Motors’ Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit — the hulking complex in Auburn Hills has sat underutilized since the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in the work-from-home era for many companies. Stellantis has maintained a flexible hybrid work approach even as some other companies have asked employees to return to the office full or part time.
Stellantis COO Mark Stewart, who is overseeing talks with the UAW, told WWJ-AM (950) on Tuesday that the company has a “series of facilities that we were looking to downsize or reconfigure.”
“Here in Auburn Hills, this is our North American headquarters. It will be our North American headquarters,” Stewart told the radio station. “But like everyone in a hybrid working environment and looking at our overall environment across the region and specifically in the U.S., we have a lot of the building here in Auburn hills that we are not utilizing today. We’re looking at other use cases for that.”
He added that the company is not leaving the headquarters complex “in any shape, form or fashion, but the areas we’re not using, we’re looking at some different repurposing for those.”
The UAW launched a strike Friday on Ford Motor Co.’s Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, Stellantis NV’s Toledo Assembly Complex just across the Ohio border and General Motors Co.’s Wentzville Assembly plant near St. Louis. UAW President Shawn Fain said Monday that the strike would expand this Friday if no progress is made in negotiations with the Detroit 3 automakers.