The UAW Threatens to Expand Strike Against Detroit 3
In a video posted by the union on Monday evening, UAW President Shawn Fain announced that the UAW will expand its strike against the Detroit 3 on Friday if negotiations this week fail to make serious progress. Fain emphasized that autoworkers have waited long enough for change and that they are not willing to wait around or mess around any longer.
Fain did not specify how many additional plants would join the strike, but he suggested that the UAW may decide not to add plants if the talks are productive, even without final deals in place.
About 13,000 Workers Currently on Strike
Currently, approximately 13,000 workers from General Motors, Ford Motor Co., and Stellantis are on strike. These workers would become eligible for strike pay from the union on the day of Fain’s next announcement.
As a consequence of the reduced production capacity caused by the strike, Ford has laid off around 600 additional workers in Michigan, while GM has announced that it may need to lay off about 2,000 workers in Kansas this week.
Despite ongoing negotiations, Fain has described progress as slow, revealing that the union has not received any new proposals from the automakers since the strike began. Fain made it clear that the ball is now in the companies’ court.
While bargaining at the subcommittee level has been constant, the union has also held main table discussions with each company since the strike began. Meetings have taken place with Ford on Saturday, GM on Sunday, and Stellantis on Monday.
Stellantis issued a statement expressing that the discussion with the UAW was constructive and focused on finding common ground to reach an agreement that would enable the company to meet the challenges of electrification. Stellantis emphasized the importance of establishing a framework in this contract to ensure competitiveness during the industry’s transformation.
Uncertainty Surrounding Counteroffers and Dual Strikes
Stellantis’ Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois has been idled since February, and the company has stated that its most recent proposal to the union includes a solution for the plant.
The timing of the companies’ counteroffers to the union remains unclear. However, it is known that each offer on the table includes 20 percent wage gains over four years and a reduction in the time it takes for new hires to reach top wages from eight years to four.
Meanwhile, Ford is also facing the threat of dual strikes in the U.S. and Canada. Negotiations with the Unifor union in Canada are ongoing, with a deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Monday. A strike in Canada could impact 5,600 workers at one assembly plant and two engine plants, which could quickly affect operations in the U.S.
The two engine plants in Canada build V-8 engines that power Ford’s highly profitable Super Duty pickups, F-150s, and Mustangs.
Ford and Stellantis have not yet responded to the new “deadline,” while GM issued a general statement expressing its commitment to bargaining in good faith for the benefit of its team members, customers, suppliers, and communities across the U.S.
Key Demands and Offers
The additional strike plans come despite automakers making record offers to the union, including approximately 20% hourly wage increases, significant bonuses, retention of the union’s platinum health care, and other improved benefits. The union’s key demands include 40% hourly pay increases, a reduced 32-hour workweek, a shift back to traditional pensions, the elimination of compensation tiers, and the restoration of cost-of-living adjustments.