The UAW Threatens to Expand Strike Against the Detroit 3 if Negotiations Stall

The UAW Warns of Expanded Strike Against Detroit 3

The United Auto Workers (UAW) is prepared to escalate its strike against the Detroit 3 automakers if negotiations this week do not yield significant progress, according to UAW President Shawn Fain.

In a video released by the union on Monday evening, Fain stated, “If we don’t see substantial advancement by noon on Friday, Sept. 22, additional local units will be called upon to join the strike. Autoworkers have been patient long enough in their quest to rectify the issues with the Big 3. We’re not willing to wait any longer, and we mean business.”

Although Fain did not specify the number of plants that would join the work stoppage if necessary, his comments suggest that the UAW is open to forgoing immediate plant additions as long as the talks show promising signs of productivity.

Current Strike Numbers and Ramifications

Currently, approximately 13,000 workers across three plants, one each from General Motors, Ford Motor Co., and Stellantis, are on strike. These workers would become eligible for strike pay on the day of Fain’s next announcement.

The consequence of the strike has already resulted in Ford laying off around 600 additional Michigan-based workers due to decreased production capacity. Similarly, GM has anticipated laying off approximately 2,000 workers in Kansas as early as this week.

While negotiations have been ongoing, Fain has expressed his dissatisfaction with the slow progress. According to an informed source, the automakers have not presented any new proposals to the union since the strike began.

Fain emphasized that “the ball’s in their court” when referring to the companies during an interview with NPR earlier on Monday.

The subcommittee-level negotiations have been consistently active, with main table discussions taking place between the union and each automaker since the start of the strike. Ford was met with on Saturday, GM on Sunday, and Stellantis on Monday.

In response to the talks, Stellantis released a statement saying, “the discussion was constructive and focused on where we can find common ground to reach an agreement that provides a bridge to the future by enabling the Company to meet the challenges of electrification.” The statement also stressed the importance of establishing a framework that ensures competitiveness during the industry’s transformation.

Stellantis’ Belvidere Assembly Plant and Proposal Update

Stellantis’ Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois has remained idle since February. The company claims its most recent proposal to the union offers a solution for the future of the plant.

It is currently unclear when the automakers plan to present counteroffers to the union. Both sides have placed offers on the table, which include a 20% wage increase 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 faces the potential danger of dual strikes in both the United States and Canada. Negotiations with the Unifor union in Canada are ongoing, with a deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Monday.

If a strike were to occur, it could impact 5,600 workers at an assembly plant and two engine plants, causing a ripple effect on operations in the United States. The two engine plants are responsible for producing engines that power Ford’s highly profitable Super Duty pickups, F-150s, and Mustangs.

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