UAW widening strike against GM and Stellantis

The United Auto Workers are including General Motors and Stellantis parts distribution centers spread across 20 states in their historic strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers.

At a Facebook Live speech on Friday, UAW President Shawn Fain announced that at noon local time, employees at 38 GM and Stellantis sites will strike.

“We’re not going to wait around forever for a fair contract,” he declared. “The businesses know how to fix this,”

Fain stated that the union is making progress on salary, job security, and other concerns and that the corporation “is serious about reaching a deal.” As a result, the labor group is not targeting Ford for more strikes.

The UAW’s decision to intensify the strike shows how far the two sides have diverged on fundamental union objectives, which include a 36% wage raise over a four-year contract, yearly cost-of-living adjustments, pension benefits for all employees, more job security, and a four-day workweek.

The manufacturers contend that they are under pressure to maintain prices as low as possible in order to compete with Tesla and other foreign automakers while also making investments in the quickly expanding electric vehicle market. The businesses indicate that they are open to additional negotiations while claiming that their counteroffers are realistic.

In an opinion piece published in the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday, GM President Mark Reuss warned that if we don’t keep investing, we would swiftly lose ground. The majority of our competitors, who are non-union and found all over the world, “will waste no time in seizing the opportunity we would be handing them.”

On Wednesday, Stellantis, the organization that owns Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and RAM, issued a counteroffer, which the union said it was examining.

What desires the UAW?
Additionally, the UAW wants to restrict the use of temporary workers, increase paid time off, and strengthen job rights like the right to strike over factory closures.

The union claims that while workers did not receive the same advantages, the Big Three pocketed substantial profits as automobile prices rose during the pandemic.

Fain stated in a video earlier this week that “autoworkers have waited long enough for the Big Three to make things right.” We don’t waste time waiting or playing about.

Last Monday, President Biden endorsed the demand for a higher proportion of industry earnings made by the striking autoworkers.

Companies have made some sizable offers, but Mr. Biden believes it should go farther to ensure that record corporate earnings translate into record contracts.

FILE – United Auto Workers members march through downtown Detroit, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. The UAW is conducting a strike against Ford, Stellantis and General Motors. Former President Donald Trump will skip the second GOP presidential debate next week to travel to Detroit as the auto worker strike enters its second week. 

Standing attack

After talks between the automakers and the UAW ended without a new labor deal being reached before their contract with union members expired, the so-called stand-up strike that was aimed at a few specific car facilities began on September 15.

In response, automakers announced temporary layoffs at certain factories, starting with Ford Motor, which on September 15 – just hours after workers at the factory walked off the job – temporarily fired 600 non-striking employees at its assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan.

Due to the ongoing strike, Stellantis stated on Wednesday that it was temporarily laying off 68 employees at a plant south of Toledo. Additional layoffs are anticipated at Stellantis’ transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana. Since the plant in Kansas City, Kansas, depends on parts from the Wentzville operation, GM announced that it will lay off 2,000 people there.

The $825 million strike fund of the UAW will now be used to pay the workers from those plants.

According to experts, the UAW strike’s effects on the economy may go beyond the car sector. A three-week work stoppage might cost the American economy $415 million, according to a projection from The Perryman Group.

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