The United Auto Workers (UAW) is expanding its strike against the Big Three U.S. automakers to General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Company SUV plants, UAW President Shawn Fain announced during a Facebook Live event on Friday.
More than 7,000 workers at the GM plant in Delta Township in Lansing, U.S. state of Michigan and the Chicago Ford assembly plant in Illinois were ordered to walk off the job.
Fain told workers via the social media platform that negotiations haven’t broken down, but Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress.
“Sadly, despite our willingness to bargain, Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress at the table,” Fain said.
The GM plant has more than 2,800 employees making large crossover SUVs such as Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse, while the Ford plant has 5,700 hourly workers making Ford Explorer and Explorer police interceptors, as well as the Lincoln Aviator SUV.
With these additional members joining the strike, the number of striking UAW members across all three automakers would reach over 25,000.
Stellantis NV avoided a strike expansion this time due to progress made in the negotiations, Fain said on Friday.
Last week, the UAW spared Ford from an expansion of the strike, saying it had made progress at the bargaining table with the automaker.
WIN OVER VOTERS
Each 2024 presidential candidate is seeking to win over blue-collar voters, cementing the strike as a political battleground, reports said.
“You made a lot of sacrifices. You gave up a lot when the companies were in trouble. Now, they’re doing incredibly well… You should be doing incredibly well, too,” U.S. President Joe Biden said on the 12th day of the union’s strike, amid applause from the striking workers. “You deserve a significant raise you need and other benefits… It’s time for them to step up for us.”
Biden visited a picket line outside a GM parts distribution center in the U.S. state of Michigan Tuesday, voicing his support to the auto workers.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s visited the place a day later, when he attacked Biden’s policies for transforming the auto industry and showed his support for the workers.
In an interview Tuesday, UAW President Shawn Fain says he sees “no point” in meeting with Trump. “I don’t think the man has any bit of care about what our workers stand for, what the working class stands for. He serves a billionaire class.”
The UAW’s unprecedented strike against the Big Three is now on its 15th day. The UAW went on strike on Sept. 15 at three select facilities of Ford, GM and Stellantis and expanded the strike to 38 General Motors (GM) and Stellantis facilities on Sept. 22.
“There is definite strain in the supply chain, and you’re going to see some of them suffer as a result of the strike if it lingers for a month or more,” said Ann Marie Uetz, a partner at a law firm that represents auto suppliers, was quoted as saying by the New York Times.
According to a Cox Automotive forecast released Tuesday, even with a strike and uncertainties of what’s to come between the Big Three and the UAW, the U.S. auto industry’s sales through the end of September showed a continued “robust” recovery.
Analysts at Edmunds, an American online resource for automotive inventory and information, said Wednesday that the effects of the strike are unlikely to show up in third-quarter sales results for the industry. But if the strike lingers, they expect an impact on auto inventories in subsequent quarters.