The United Auto Workers (UAW) has expanded its ongoing strike, taking aim at both Ford and General Motors (GM) in its latest move. UAW President Shawn Fain used the power of social media, specifically Facebook Live, to announce the addition of 7,000 UAW members joining the picket lines at Ford’s Chicago Assembly and GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly plants. This increase brings the total number of striking workers to a significant 25,000 members. The UAW’s Stand Up Strike is now impacting a total of 43 facilities spread across 21 different states.
The decision to expand the strike has not been well-received by the targeted automakers. Ford President and CEO Jim Farley expressed his dissatisfaction, claiming that the UAW had already achieved a record contract, labeling the escalated strikes as “grossly irresponsible.” Similarly, GM’s Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing, Gerald Johnson, dismissed the strikes as merely a quest for attention, rather than a pathway to genuine progress. Johnson highlighted the lack of a counteroffer from the UAW in response to GM’s latest proposal.
One notable absence from the list of targeted companies is Stellantis, as they managed to avoid any further strike action from the UAW. However, the automaker has acknowledged that although progress has been made in discussions with the union, significant gaps in negotiations remain. Stellantis remains committed to forging a fair and responsible agreement moving forward.
The UAW also provided some insight into the ongoing negotiations, noting that considerable progress had been made in several areas, including cost-of-living adjustments, just prior to the decision to expand the strike. The two plants selected for the additional strike action play crucial roles in the production of popular SUVs for both GM and Ford. GM’s facility manufactures the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse, while Ford’s Chicago plant produces the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator.
Despite the increased tension and strikes, President Fain emphasized that negotiations have not disintegrated entirely, emphasizing that open dialogue with all three automakers is still ongoing. It is important for the UAW to maintain lines of communication to achieve a resolution that satisfies all parties involved.
Earlier this week, United States President Joe Biden made history by paying a visit to the picket line. The president addressed UAW members at GM’s Willow Run redistribution center, making him the first sitting president in modern history to join workers on a picket line. The show of support from the president serves as a testament to the significance of this labor dispute.
Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to denounce the union and its demands. Musk warned that the UAW’s actions could lead to bankruptcy for the three targeted automakers. Tesla, however, remains unaffected by the strikes as they do not employ unionized labor at their facilities.
The strike itself commenced on September 15 with nearly 13,000 UAW members walking out. This historic event marked the first time in the organization’s 88-year history that it has managed to simultaneously picket all three major automakers. The UAW and the Big Three Automakers last negotiated a four-year contract in 2019, setting the stage for the current labor dispute.
In conclusion, the UAW’s decision to expand the strike to include Ford and General Motors has escalated tensions further, with both automakers expressing their dissatisfaction. The ongoing negotiations and picket lines demonstrate the determination of the UAW to push for favorable terms for its members. The involvement of President Biden and Elon Musk adds an extra layer of significance to this historic strike, which has impacted the automotive industry on an unprecedented scale.