UAW members go on strike at three key auto plants after deal deadline passes

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DETROIT – Thousands of members of the United Auto Workers went on strike at three U.S. assembly plants of General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis, after the union and the automakers failed to reach a deal on a new labor contract Thursday night.

“The UAW Stand Up Strike begins at all three of the Big Three,” the union said in a post on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, just after midnight Friday.

The facilities are GM’s midsize truck and full-size van plant in Wentzville, Missouri; Ford’s Ranger midsize pickup and Bronco SUV plant in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellantis’ Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator plant in Toledo, Ohio. Ford’s UAW President Shawn Fain stated that only the workers who are involved in final assembly and paint will be on strike. “We will be here until we receive our fair share of economic justice,” Fain said outside the Ford facility in Wayne. It doesn’t really matter how long that takes. “

The chosen plants produce highly profitable cars for the automakers which are largely still in high demand. The UAW represents about 146,000 workers across Ford, GM, and Stellantis. The UAW represents about 146,000 workers across Ford, GM and Stellantis.

UAW President Shawn Fain, center, talks to reporters as union members strike outside a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan, Sept. 15, 2023.

CNBC | Michael Wayland

“If they come to the pump and they take care of their workers, we’ll be back to work,” Fain said early Friday, referring to the automakers. We’ll continue to increase our efforts if the automakers don’t. “

The union selected the plants as part of targeted strike plans initially announced Wednesday night by Fain, who has unconventionally been negotiating with all three automakers at once and has been reluctant to compromise much on the union’s demands.

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General Motors sweetens its offer to include 20% wage increaseTargeted strikes typically focus on key plants that can then cause other plants to cease production due to a lack of parts. Fain’s plan to stop work isn’t unprecedented, but it’s not the usual way of doing things. The plan includes striking at selected plants, and increasing the strike count if the negotiation status changes. The selection of assembly plants is another unique feature. “We’re using a brand new strategy called the’stand up’ strike. “We will call for select facilities, units or locals to go on strike. The White House said that Biden, who boasts of his blue-collar background and support for organized labor, spoke with Fain and the leaders of the Detroit automakers. The White House said Biden, who boasts of his blue-collar background and support for organized labor, talked with Fain and the leaders of the Detroit automakers.

Ford, in a statement Thursday night, said the UAW presented its “first substantive counterproposal” to four of the company’s offers, but it “showed little movement from the union’s initial demands. “

“If implemented, the proposal would more than double Ford’s current UAW-related labor costs, which are already significantly higher than the labor costs of Tesla, Toyota and other foreign-owned automakers in the United States that utilize non-union-represented labor,” Ford said. The union has made it clear that, if we do not agree to their unsustainable terms by 11:59 pm Eastern time, they will stop working. eastern. The automakers’ proposals have addressed some of UAW’s demands, but not all. Specifically, the companies have offered wage increases of roughly 20%, COLA, altered profit-sharing bonuses; and enhanced vacation and family leave enhancements that the union has found inadequate.

“We didn’t need to be here,” Barra told CNBC’s Phil LeBeau.