By David Shepardson and Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden on Thursday will meet with United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain and tout the decision of Chrysler-parent Stellantis to reopen a shuttered assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois, a White House official said.
Stellantis agreed to build a new $3.2 billion battery plant and invest $1.5 billion in a new mid-size truck factory in Illinois under its tentative labor agreement and add 5,000 total U.S. jobs by 2028, the UAW said last week. The labor deals reached with the Detroit Three automakers, which include a 25% pay hike, better retirement benefits and other significant improvements through April 2028, remain subject to ratification votes.
Fain, unlike most labor leaders, has yet to endorse Biden for reelection but has praised White House involvement in the labor talks and Biden's visit to a UAW picket line in Michigan, the first of its kind by a U.S. president.
Biden last week called Fain after the labor deals were announced.
Stellantis, which shuttered the Belvidere assembly plant in February, will begin producing 80,000 to 100,000 mid-size trucks annually in 2027 and the $3.2 billion battery plant with a yet to be named joint venture partner will open in 2028. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker will attend Thursday's event, where Biden will make remarks, the official said.
The UAW declined to comment on the event Thursday. Stellantis did not immediately comment.
The new Stellantis investments include $1.5 billion in the Toledo Jeep operations, including building an EV Jeep Wrangler in 2028.
Stellantis will invest $3.5 billion in three Michigan assembly plants, including $1.5 billion in a Detroit plant to updated versions of the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee, including electric versions of those in 2026 and 2027. The UAW said Stellantis wanted to cut 5,000 jobs going into the talks.
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Nandita Bose; Editing by David Gregorio)