Inside the auto plant, you can buy anything – food, lottery tickets, t-shirts, socks, and even Christmas toys. The only thing Chris Moore could not find at his Dearborn Truck Plant was a heavy duty work jacket.
“Whenever I would wear my good coats to work, I would always snag it on something or it would get knocked off the coat rack and get dirty,” said Moore, who has been at Dearborn Truck Plant since 2014. “So I told one of my friends that I wanted a durable jacket just for work.”
Moore’s plant offered Ford work jackets, but since he did not have enough seniority at the time, he was not eligible to receive one. So he decided to create his own jacket. His friend found him a heavy duty work jacket with only the iconic Ford blue oval on the front and he had Dearborn Truck Plant, his UAW Local, and his name embroidered on the jacket, and wore it to work.
His co-workers loved the jacket and began to request one for themselves. Moore granted their wishes and “PlantLife Jackets” was born. Moore began making the jackets in 2015 and business has been booming around this time ever since.
The navy blue jackets are $80 for Dearborn Truck Plant employees and come standard with the workers’ name, company logo, and UAW Local, in any letter style or color. It is $90 for workers at other plants. For those who want the large UAW wheel on the back or the Dodge Ram logo for SHAP workers, it will cost an additional $40. The turn-around time for a jacket is two weeks and line workers, supervisors, and even retirees are all requesting them.
Plant Life jackets was created at Dearborn Truck Plant, but are being worn by auto workers across the metro Detroit area, including Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP) and Warren Truck Assembly, and in different parts of the country. Moore has done business with workers at the Ford plant in Lima, Ohio and as far as Arlington, Texas at its GM plant.
“I never thought the idea would get outside of my plant,” said Moore. “It was just an idea I had to stop tearing up my own coat. The business has grown, and the workload is getting heavy. I may need an assistant because the support has been overwhelming. I sold 500 jackets last year and I plan to do 2,000 this season.”
Moore is not on strike, but many of his family members, friends, and fellow UAW members are. Over the last month, he has shown his support by walking the picket lines with them, sometimes getting off at four in the morning and driving to Romulus to block the entrance to the GM plant there. And if he could not stay and march, he would buy the striking workers food and others supplies, since their pay has been cut.
For the striking workers at the GM plant in Lansing, Moore is gifting three of them a free Plant Life jacket.
“This is my blessing to them for solidarity and holding the line,” said Moore. “Them going first, negotiating this contract, is a huge sacrifice. Hopefully, we won’t have to go through that but, if I was on strike, I would want the same support from my UAW sisters and brothers at other plants.”
Working seven days a week at the plant has forced Moore to cap his jacket orders but he does has plans to expand his business in the near future. Customers can place an order for a jacket via text, at 313-693-5689 or email at PlantLifeJackets@gmail.com. A $25 deposit will follow, and the balance can be paid upon delivery of the jacket. PlantLife Jackets can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.