Strike against automakers spreads to 38 locations in 20 states, but not Indiana

Keywords Auto Industry / Labor / Strikes
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The United Auto Workers expanded its strike against major automakers Friday, walking out of 38 General Motors and Stellantis parts distribution centers in 20 states.

Another 5,600 workers joined the strike on top of the 13,000 of the 146,000 members that began the strike one week ago.

A list of new strike sites provided the UAW shows no locations in Indiana. The list includes six GM sites and seven Stellantis sites in Michigan. Elsewhere in the Midwest, one site from each automaker is being targeted in Ohio and Illinois.

Ford was spared additional strikes because the company has met some of the union’s demands during negotiations over the past week, said UAW President Shawn Fain. The union is pointing to the companies’ huge recent profits as it seeks wage increases of 36% over four years. The companies have offered a little over half that amount. The UAW has other demands, including a 32-hour work week for 40 hours of pay and a restoration of traditional pension plans for newer workers.

The companies say they can’t afford to meet the union’s demands because they need to invest profits in a costly transition from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles.

The UAW’s contract with the automakers expired at midnight on Sept. 14, and workers walked out of a Ford assembly plant near Detroit, a GM factory in Wentzville, Missouri, and a Jeep plant run by Stellantis in Toledo, Ohio. The initial strike has involved about 13,000 of the union’s 146,000 members.

Fain said earlier this week he would call on workers at more plants to strike unless there was significant progress in contract negotiations with the carmakers. Bargaining continued Thursday, although neither side reported any breakthroughs, and they remained far apart on wage increases.

The strike until Friday had involved fewer than 13,000 of the union’s 146,000 members. The companies have laid off a few thousand more, saying some factories are running short on parts because of the strike.

Still, the impact is not yet being felt on car lots around the country–it will probably take a few weeks before the strike causes a significant shortage of new vehicles, according to analysts. Prices could rise even sooner, however, if the prospect of a prolonged strike triggers panic buying.

The union is seeking pay raises of 36% over four years, an end to lower pay scales for new workers, and most boldly, a 32-hour work week for 40 hours of pay. The car companies say they can’t afford the union’s demands despite huge profits because they need to invest in the transformation to electric vehicles.

One week ago, workers went on strike a week ago at three assembly plants—a Ford factory near Detroit, a GM plant outside St. Louis, and a Jeep plant owned by Stellantis in Toledo, Ohio.

The Detroit News reported Thursday that a spokesman for Fain wrote on a private group chat on X, formerly Twitter, that union negotiators aimed to inflict “recurring reputations damage and operational chaos” on the carmakers, and “if we can keep them wounded for months they don’t know what to do.”

Ford and GM seized on the messages as a sign of bad faith by the UAW.

“It’s now clear that the UAW leadership has always intended to cause months-long disruption, regardless of the harm it causes to its members and their communities,” GM said in a statement.

Ford spokesman Mark Truby called the messages “disappointing, to say the least, given what is at stake for our employees, the companies and this region.”

The UAW spokesman, Jonah Furman, did not confirm writing the messages, which were linked to the same picture as his X account, and called them “private messages” that “you shouldn’t have,” the newspaper reported.

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11 thoughts on “Strike against automakers spreads to 38 locations in 20 states, but not Indiana

  1. I’m all for fair wages and improved benefits but if the UAW keeps this up they will strike the big three into the ground. Then what’s the point? What happened to our jobs?

  2. 40 hours of pay for 32 hours of work is right up there with student loan reallocation. No, I didn’t mistakenly not say “forgiveness”, because the loan is not forgiven, it’s just reallocated to those of us that paid our student loans and and pay taxes!

  3. Let the strikes continue. Don’t give into the ridiculous demands, as they call them. Companies have highs and lows. You can’t just take from the highs when you aren’t ready to give it back during the lows.

    1. David G.

      +1

      Why in the world are these UAW people worried about the CEO’s pay???

      Why do the UAW members think they are entitled to the profits.

      Why don’t the UAW members understand that the profits go back into
      the operations and back to the shareholders.

    2. You mean “give back” like they actually did in 2008 when the auto companies were in a deep low because of the recession? They’ve been straddled by those concessions ever since. Adjusting for inflation, auto workers have seen their average wages fall by 19% since 2008. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics wages for autoworkers on the production line have dropped 30% since 2003

      Perhaps your comment should be reversed. Auto companies shouldn’t take when there are lows and not give back when there are highs.

    3. The Auto companies need to stay strong.
      Obviously the UAW and the public in general have amnesia.

      The UAW destroyed jobs and entire communities with their greed and lack
      of flexibility. Especially regarding work rules and keeping bad employees.

    4. The wage average is a nonsense comparison. The unions over reached and
      destroyed jobs in the process.

      Second, The unions pushed for the two tier wage system NOT the
      auto companies.The two tier wage
      system hurt the auto companies ability to recruit and retain new employees.
      Go to Allison’s Transmission sometime and ask their corporate managers
      about that sometime. Allison’s is having a horrible time staffing their facilities
      because of the two tiered wage system and because of the union work rules.

      Allison’s tried to raise the entry level wage for new employees and the union
      voted it down.

  4. Weird how all the normal Commenters are taking this one off. Wes and Joe must be having connectivity issues…
    IBJ, will you be interviewing Michael Hicks so he can Democrat-splain to your readers about how these demands are perfectly reasonable, will not contribute to inflation and will not damage individual households economics?

    1. We all saw a few months ago how they treated the rail-worker unions. About the only unions the “party of the common man” seems to support in 2023 are Teachers unions or those for federal workers.

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