Detroit’s Big Three automakers couldn’t reachIt was one of the biggest strikes to hit the US in years before workers represented by the United Auto Workers were due to expire at midnight on Thursday.
The UAW said it was implementing a stand-up strike strategy that would see workers walk off the job at a small number of Ford, General Motors and Stellandis factories. According to The Associated Press, employees will receive about $500 a week from the UAW’s $825 million strike fund.
“Tonight, for the first time in our history, we will strike all three Big Three at once,” UAW President Shawn Fine said in a Facebook Live address Thursday night.
Fein said three factories will be involved immediately: a GM assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, a Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, and the Stellandis assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio.
About 12,700 employees are involved in all, Reuters news service reports.
“Locals who have not yet been called to join the strike will continue to work under the expired contract,” Fine said.
He told CNN he didn’t expect a deal Friday but that the pages could be on the table Saturday.
Dozens of workers gathered outside the Ford plant in Wayne as the midnight deadline approached.
A mass rally is planned for Friday afternoon in downtown Detroit.
“We will show our strength and unity on the first day of this historic operation,” Fine said. “All options are on the table.”
The strike marks the Detroit automakers’ first since workers walked out of GM in 2019.
The UAW’s demands include a 36% wage increase in a four-year contract; Retirement benefits for all employees; Limited use of temporary workers; More paid holidays, incl; Many job protections, including the right to strike in connection with plant closures.
As talks stalled Thursday, leaders of Ford, General Motors and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) said they had made several offers to the UAW in recent weeks in hopes of signing the union’s 145,000 workers to a new contract.
“I think they’re preparing for a historic strike with all three companies,” Ford CEO Jim Farley told CBS News on Thursday.
In a later statement, Ford said, “At 8 p.m. today at Solidarity House in Detroit, the United Auto Workers presented its first substantive counterproposal to Ford just hours after the current four-year collective bargaining agreement expired.”
After the strike was underway, Stellandis said, “We are deeply disappointed by the UAW leadership’s refusal to responsibly engage in reaching a fair agreement for the benefit of our employees, their families and our customers. We have immediately terminated the organization and taken all appropriate structural decisions to protect Mode and our North American operations and the organization.” will take.”
The GM added, “We are disappointed by the UAW leadership’s actions despite the unprecedented GM economic package on the table, which includes historic wage increases and production commitments. We will negotiate in good faith with the union and reach an agreement soon. Meanwhile, our team members, customers, suppliers and the U.S. As much as possible for the benefit of communities across the board, our priority is the safety of our employees.”
While the Big Three are not willing to meet all of the UAW’s demands, they argue that they have made reasonable counter-offers and are willing to negotiate further. Outlining their position, automaker officials say they are under increasing pressure to compete with Tesla and foreign automakers, especially as companies vie for share in the growing electric vehicle market.
“Their initial offer is to pay our hourly workers $300,000 each and work four days,” Farley said of the UAW on Thursday. “It would basically put our company out of business.”
While Fine acknowledged that automakers have raised their wage offers, he said those proposals are not enough. Ford has delivered 20% over 4.5 years, while GM and Stellantis have delivered 18% and 17.5% over four years, respectively.
The strike could cause a spike in car prices, resulting in an economic loss of $5.6 billion for automakers and, according to one forecast, could reduce the country’s gross domestic product by up to 0.3%, according to Oxford Economics.