Sterling Stamping to start layoffs

Sterling Stamping, which is next to the Sterling Heights Assembly truck factory but supports other plants as well, has around 2,000 hourly workers and 200 salaried workers—but that is apparently going to change. Stellantis confirmed to WXYZ of Detroit that “there will be indefinite layoffs” effective June 20. The goal is to “operate the plant in a more sustainable manner,” according to the radio station. No details have been released.

Sterling Heights stamping press, 2016
Sterling Heights stamping press, 2016

Update: The Macomb Daily quoted Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel as saying that the layoffs were due to supply chain issues. He did not have more specific information.

Sterling Stamping produces body sheet metal and assemblies such as hoods, roofs, lift gates, floor pans, and such. According to Allpar:

The stamping plant, originally built in 1965, was 2.7 million square feet in size; in 2008 it had 464 robots on its 254 acres. The plant employed 2,500 people in 2007, but just 1,830 people by May 2008. The plant was home to UAW Locals 1264, 889 and 412. In 2008, the plant made stampings and assemblies including hoods, deck lids, quarter panel, roofs, floor pans, and fenders for the Challenger, Sebring/Avenger, Ram, minivans, Grand Cherokee, and Liberty/Nitro… The largest stamping facility in the world, the roughly three million square foot plant was now able to produce around 82 million stampings a year, up by around 30% from its prior 62 million.

Servo tandem presses, the first of their kind at Sterling Heights and already installed at Warren Stamping earlier this year [see the image], are more reliable and use less power, while increasing production… As of late 2016, Sterling Stamping operated 19 major press lines, three blankers (coil-fed presses that shear or trim metal coils into shapes that are stacked and used in press lines) and four large progressive press lines (press lines using a single die with multiple stations to make parts at high speed), ranging from 400 to 4,000 ton capacity. The internal sub-assembly welding shop has over 720 robots. The plant processed nearly a half million tons of steel and 14,000 tons of aluminum annually, running on an alternative work schedule with 2,281 employees.

4 thoughts on “Sterling Stamping to start layoffs”

  1. Like with Belvidere’s recent salaried layoffs, the head of Stellantis is a Nissan grad, cut til you bleed. Those of us left are taking on 2 , 3 jobs at a time, they expect donated extra time. They announced raises for those left but hard to raise morale like that. The lucky ones left or got a layoff pkg. Used to be a good step up but the salary folks are the at the bleeding edge. Time to look elsewhere…

  2. Sterling Stamping is located less than two miles due east of my location here at home. The careful observer will be able to tell what plant their shipments are destined for by observing the nomenclature on the trucks leaving the facility, as the trailers are dedicated to certain plants. This makes the sustainability comment in the news article eye raising, as many shipments are destined for plants making tremendously successful and profitable products; JNAP being frequently noted.

    I don’t have an insider’s view on what’s prompting this change, but I can only suppose that the pressures of inflation and limits to production capacity at the assembly plants due to supply chain disruptions are at the core of the decision. It could also be that Stellantis is following the lead of the other OEMs such as Ford who are transitioning to a build-to-order model in an effort to cut down on oversupply and raise transaction prices. Whatever the case is, layoffs in the auto industry tend to be painful for all concerned, and they seem to be followed by a sort of rebound effect later on when contracts are renegotiated and the price of layoffs gets factored in.

    What’s really disturbing is the memory of the last time the factories along Van Dyke Avenue were impacted by production cuts or closures, as was the case with SHAP after the 2008/2009 bankruptcy. Suddenly, every block in my neighborhood was filled with foreclosed-upon houses as people walked away from their mortgages after a huge run-up in housing prices crashed. That situation twelve years ago is not that different from today. I hope the same thing doesn’t start to happen again.

    • Absolutely… on all counts. I hope this is partly just due to new machinery requiring fewer people but I suspect you’re right. They may also be rebalancing. Indiana is Chrysler’s favorite place now and aluminum content has been rising.

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