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UAW strike targets key factories disrupting operations


A UAW strike has hit three U.S. assembly plants belonging to General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, following the failure to reach a consensus on a new labor contract on Thursday night.

In a Twitter post, the union announced the commencement of the UAW Stand Up Strike at all three major automakers. 

UAW President Shawn Fain expressed the union’s determination to pursue economic and social justice through this strike, stating, “We’re going to be out here until we get our share of economic justice, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes.”

Who’s on strike?

Currently, the UAW has called on members at the following plants to strike:

  • GM Wentzville Assembly, Local 2250 in Region 4
  • Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex, Local 12 in Region 2B
  • Ford Michigan Assembly Plant – Final Assembly and Paint, Local 900 in Region 1A

These plants manufacture highly profitable vehicles that remain in high demand, and the strike will impact approximately 12,700 workers—5,800 at Stellantis, 3,600 at GM, and 3,300 at Ford. The UAW represents about 146,000 workers collectively across Ford, GM, and Stellantis.

Vehicles affected are the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, GM’s cargo van, Ford Ranger, Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Gladiator respectively.

Workers at all other plants will continue working unless notified by the UAW.

Why a targeted strike?

Targeted strikes are a strategy focused on key plants that can disrupt production at other facilities due to parts shortages. While not entirely unprecedented, Fain’s plan to execute these work stoppages is unique. It involves initiating targeted strikes at selected plants and potentially increasing the number of strikes based on the progress of negotiations. The selection of assembly plants for such strikes is also atypical.

Fain has termed the union’s plans a “stand-up strike,” harking back to the historic “sit-down” strikes of the 1930s.

The key union proposals encompass 40% hourly pay increases, a reduction in the workweek to 32 hours, a return to traditional pensions, the elimination of compensation tiers, and the restoration of cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), among other matters. Enhanced retiree benefits and improved vacation and family leave benefits are also on the negotiating table.

What does the UAW strike mean?

It’s still early days – the strike is less than 24 hours old at the time of publishing this article.

As an Automotive News article points out, this is actually a much smaller strike than some
analysts predicted. But it could get much bigger quickly if the UAW doesn’t get what it deems to
be a fair contract resolution. Additionally, as the Auto News article states, UAW President
Shawn Fain isn’t planning to even try to negotiate on this first day of the strike as he plans to
join striking workers in Toledo.

Ford and General Motors have gone on record stating they are bargaining in good faith, with
proposed raises as high as 20%. Yet, as Ford said in a prepared statement, the UAW has not
moved too far from its original demands submitted on August 3.

A portion of the statement reads:
“Ford has bargained in good faith in an effort to avoid a strike, which could have wide-ranging consequences for our business and the economy. It also impacts the very 57,000 UAW-Ford workers we are trying to reward with this contract. Our hourly employees would take home nearly 60% less on average with UAW strike pay than they would from working. And without vehicles in production, the profit-sharing checks that UAW workers could expect to receive early next year will also be decimated by a significant strike.”

Additionally, though the UAW strike currently only targets three plants, the work stoppage will affect supplies and local economies. So, the overall impact is much bigger.

The bottom line

While several vehicles affected on the strike have a 60- to 90-day supply, if the UAW strike
lingers or becomes larger scale, inventories will dwindle, prices will go up, and it will be harder to buy a car. So, we’re playing a wait-and-see game.

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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