The United Auto Workers is expanding its historic strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers to include General Motors and Stellantis parts distribution centers across 20 states.
UAW President Shawn Fain said during a Facebook Live address on Friday that workers at 38 GM and Stellantis facilities will walk off the job at noon local time. GM and Stellantis “are going to need some serious pushing” to get closer to an agreement, said the union leader, who wore a black-and-white camouflage-printed union shirt.
“We’re not going to wait around forever for a fair contract,” said Fain. “The companies know how to make this right.”
Notably, the labor group is not targeting Ford for additional strikes. The union is making progress with Ford on wage, job security and other issues, according to Fain, who said the company “is serious about reaching a deal.”
Ford has agreed to dismantle the two-tiered wage system at its Components and Sterling axel assembly plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, according to Fain. The automaker has also agreed to reinstate cost-of-living adjustments — which were eliminated in 2009 — and the right to strike over plant closures. Other concessions Ford made include beefed-up profit-sharing payments that will also be offered to temporary workers who have been on the job for 90 days.
“Ford is working diligently with the UAW to reach a deal that rewards our workforce and enables Ford to invest in a vibrant and growing future,” the company said in a statement Friday. “Although we are making progress in some areas, we still have significant gaps to close on the key economic issues.”
The UAW’s move to escalate the work stoppage highlights how far the sides remain apart on core union demands, which include a 36% pay increase across a four-year contract, annual cost-of-living adjustments, pension benefits for all employees, greater job security and afour-day work week.
GM and Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep, have rejected the union’s proposals for job security, reduced-use of temporary workers and profit-sharing, which is why the union’s expanded strike targets their facilities, Fain said.
The automakers argue they’re facing pressure to keep costs low in order to compete with Tesla and foreign car makers, while also investing money into the rapidly growing electric vehicle market. The companies also say their counteroffers are reasonable, while signaling they are willing to negotiate further.
“If we don’t continue to invest, we will lose ground — quickly,” GM President Mark Reuss wrote Wednesday in an op-ed published in the Detroit Free Press. “Our competitors across the country and around the world, most of whom are non-union, will waste no time seizing the opportunity we would be handing them.”
What does the UAW want?
The UAW is also seeking limited use of temporary workers and more paid time off, as well as stronger job protections, including the right to strike over plant closings.
The union argues that the Big Three reaped hefty profits as car prices surged during the pandemic, while workers failed to enjoy the same benefits.
“Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the Big Three,” Fain said in a video earlier this week. “We’re not waiting around, and we’re not messing around.”
President Biden last week expressed support for striking autoworkers‘ demand for a larger share of industry profits.
“Companies have made some significant offers, but I believe it should go further — to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts,” Mr. Biden said.
The so-calledstand-up striketargeting select auto plants kicked off on September 15 after negotiations between the automakers and the UAW failed to reach a new labor agreement before their contract with union members expired.
Automakers responded by announcing temporary layoffs at some factories, beginning with Ford Motor which had temporarily laid off 600 non-striking workers at its assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, on September 15, only hours after employees at the facility had walked off the job.
Stellantis announced this weekit was temporarily laying off 68 workers at a plant outside Toledo because of the ongoing strike, with more layoffs expected at its transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana. GM said it will lay off 2,000 workers at its plant in Kansas City, Kansas, because there’s no work for them since they depend on parts from the Wentzville facility.
Workers from those plants, as well as those walking off ffrom the 38 distribution sites added Friday, will be paid through the UAW’s $825 million strike fund.
Experts say the economic impact of the UAW strike could extend beyond the auto industry. A work stoppage lasting three weeks could cost the U.S. economy $415 million, according to an estimate from The Perryman Group.
Here are the GM and Stellantis parts distribution facilities where workers are set to strike.
Pontiac Redistribution (Pontiac, Michigan)Willow Run Redistribution (Belleville, Michigan)Ypsilanti Processing Center (Ypsilanti, Michigan)Davidson Road Processing Center (Burton, Michigan)Flint Processing Center (Swartz Creek, Michigan)Lansing Redistribution (Lansing, Michigan)Cincinnati Parts Distribution (Westchester, Ohio)Denver Parts Distribution (Aurora, Colorado)Hudson Parts Distribution (Hudson, Wisconsin)Chicago Parts Distribution (Bolingbrook, Illinois)Reno Parts Distribution Center (Reno, Nevada)Rancho Cucamonga Parts Distribution (Rancho Cucamonga, California)Fort Worth Parts Distribution (Roanoke, Texas)Martinsburg Parts Distribution (Martinsburg, West Virginia)Jackson Parts Distribution (Brandon, Mississippi)Charlotte Parts Distribution (Charlotte, North Carolina)Memphis AC Delco Parts Distribution (Memphis, Tennessee)Philadelphia Parts Distribution (Langhorne, Pennsylvania)
Marysville (Marysville, Michigan)Centerline Packaging (Center Line, Michigan)Centerline Warehouse (Center Line, Michigan)Sherwood (Warren, Michigan)Warren Parts (Warren, Michigan)Quality Engineering Center (Auburn Hills, Michigan)Romulus (Romulus, Michigan)Cleveland (Streetsboro, Ohio)Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)Minneapolis (Plymouth, Minnesota)Denver (Commerce City, Colorado)Chicago (Naperville, Illinois)Los Angeles (Ontario, California)Portland (Beaverton, Oregon)Atlanta (Morrow, Georgia)Winchester (Winchester, Virginia)Orlando (Orlando, Florida)Dallas (Carrollton, Texas)New York (Tappan, New York)Boston (Mansfield, Massachusetts)