Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union started a strike against Detroit’s ‘big three’ automakers on Friday 15th September after their contracts expired and no agreements were reached. Below are the latest updates.
Stellantis has announced immediate temporary layoffs for 68 employees and 300 potential further layoffs due to the UAW strike.
In a statement, the OEM said: ”As a consequence of the strike action at the Toledo Assembly Complex, Stellantis confirms that it will immediately temporarily layoff 68 employees at the Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg, Ohio, due to storage constraints. All other production at this facility continues.
“In addition, we anticipate similar actions at Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo Casting in Kokomo, Indiana, affecting an estimated 300 employees at these two facilities. Stellantis continues to closely monitor the impact of the UAW strike action on our manufacturing operations.”
UAW workers have struck a ZF Group plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama which builds and supplies front axles for Mercedes-Benz, further impacting the automotive supply chain in North America. The 190 members of the union walked off the plant today after an agreement couldn’t be reached between the parties.
in Canada, Ford has avoided a labour strike by Unifor union members as the two parties reached a tentative deal that will cover 5,600 autoworkers. The union members must now ratify the deal by the end of the day.
Shawn Fain, president, UAW said the ‘Stand Up’ strike will expand at noon (EST) on Friday 22nd September if the OEMs have not made “substantial progress toward a fair agreement”.
In a video posted on the UAW’s social media sites, Fain said: “Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the ‘big three’. We’re not waiting around, and we’re not messing around. Be ready to stand up.”
In a statement the same day, Stellantis said it had resumed “constructive and focused” negotiations with the UAW. The carmaker said its most recent offer was for nealry 21% in cumulative raises for hourly employees, an inflation protection measure, reduction of tiers from eight years to four, and $1 billion in retirement funding.
Strikes will affect more of Ford and GM’s facilities, according to the OEMs.
GM said it expects to pause production at its Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas due to a shortage of stampings from the struck Wentzville Assembly plant.
Ford said 600 workers at its Michigan Assembly plant, including at its body construction facility and south sub-assembly area, were told not to come to work due to the impact of the strikes.
Members of the UAW started a strike against Ford, GM and Stellantis after their contracts expired and no agreements were reached. The strike will be targeted and will start small but could grow bigger. For now, the union workers are on strike at GM’s Wentzville Assembly plant, Ford’s Michigan Final Assembly and Paint plant, and Stellantis’ Toledo Assembly plant.
The UAW said that by starting the ‘Stand Up’ strike small, it has more flexibility to avoid exhausting its strike fund, giving it the “ability to escalate all the way up to a national, all-out work stoppage if necessary”.
GM said it was “disappointed” by the union’s actions and that it would “continue in good fait with the union to reach an agreement as quickly as possible”. GM offered a 20% wage increase over four years, with a 10% raise in the first year (up from 18% in GM’s previous offer), a faster path to top pay, inflation protection and job security.
Ford said it “bargained in good faith in an effort to avoid a strike, which could have wide-ranging consequences for our business and the economy”. Ford offered a 20% raise over the life of a contract, cost of living adjustments, eliminated wage tiers, increased contributions to in-progression retirement savings and added more paid time off.
Stellantis said it was “extremely disappointed by the UAW leadership’s refusal to engage in a responsible manner to reach a fair agreement”, adding it “immediately put the company in contingency mode”. It made an offer to increase wages to 19.5% (it previously offered a 17.5% pay rise on 13th September) and make salaried workers hourly.
The strike could cause a ’major economic crisis’ with a ‘devastating impact’ on automotive manufacturing in North America, according to lawyers from Clark Hill.