Welcome to the Walkouts: UAW strikes all three Detroit automakers

Detroit, Michigan – In a first in the United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s 88-year history, a simultaneous strike against Ford Motor co., General Motors (GM) and Fiat-Chrysler (now part of Stellantis) has been announced.

Early Friday, nearly 13,000 hourly workers at General Motors assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri; a Ford factory in Wayne, Michigan, near Detroit; and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio went on strike.

UAW President Shawn Fain cited the event as a “righteous fight against the rich to get better wages for the working class.”

This historic event comes after over three months of active negotiations between the UAW and the Detroit 3 automakers. From August first through third, the UAW presented contract demands to the three automakers and summarily rejected their counter-proposals as “insulting” for their failure to meet the demands of double-digit pay raises and defined benefit pensions for all workers.

Such counter-proposals included Ford offering hourly employees with a 15 percent guaranteed combined wage increase, lump sum payments and improved benefits over the life of the contract; GM offering a counteroffer to the UAW that includes a 10 percent wage hike and two additional 3 percent annual lump sum payments over four years; and Stellantis offering a 14.5 percent wage hike over four years but no lump sum payments.

With strikes now in effect, the union plans to expand the work stoppage at yet-to-be-determined intervals–a strategy that Fain has dubbed “stand up strikes” after previous UAW strikes–to ratchet up the pressure on automakers.

The walkout will immediately halt production of profitable, high-demand vehicles such as the Ford Bronco, the Jeep Wrangler and the Chevrolet Colorado. It is also expected to create ripple effects for suppliers, contractors, dealers and other facets of the automotive industry.

GM’s CEO Mary Barra said she hoped for a quick return to the bargaining table.

“The key in any of this is to get to the table and talk through the issues, and that’s what we’ve been working to do,” Barra said Friday morning on CNBC.”

She referenced the automaker’s latest offer, which included a 20-percent wage increase and additional paid time off, as “very generous” and said she thinks the strike can be resolved quickly.

“We’re at the table. We’re problem-solving. We want to get this done,” she said. A strike “will not be good for the economy overall.”
Hours before the strike was ordered, Fain appeared jubilant, smiling and leading chants as he crossed Michigan Avenue.

“They’re the first ones out and I’m damn proud of them,” he said, noting the union would stay on strike “as long as it takes.”

The Detroit 3 will continue to remain in talks in the coming days with the hope of resolving UAW’s contracts before ripple effects are felt too deeply.

In Canada, Unifor President Lana Payne is still in talks with automakers with the strike deadline approaching on September 18, 2023.


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