UAW to expand strike at Ford and GM, Fein says, but sees progress at Stellandis

New York

The United Auto Workers is expanding its strike to one additional assembly plant each at Ford and General Motors, but progress in negotiations at Stellandis has prevented the union from expanding the picketing there.

Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant, which makes the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs, and GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant in Michigan, which makes the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave, are the new facilities to strike Friday at noon, UAW President Shawn Fine said. SUVs. With those additional 7,000 members picking up picket signs, the total number of UAW members on strike at the three automakers will reach 25,000. Fine said his comments Friday morning were delayed by last-minute negotiations at Stellandis, which makes vehicles under the Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Chrysler brands.

Fine spoke about the duration of the strike in a livestreamed update. But, he said, “we’re excited about this momentum from Stellandis and hope it continues.”

The union said it plans to extend the scope of the strike to increase pressure on companies if it is not satisfied with the progress of negotiations.

“To be clear, negotiations have not broken down,” Fine said. “We are still talking to all three companies. I remain confident that we can reach an agreement that reflects the incredible sacrifices and contributions our members have made over the past decade.”

GM criticized the extension of the strike.

“Calling more strikes is just for headlines, not real progress,” said a statement from Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing. “The number of people who will be negatively affected by these strikes is growing, and that includes our customers who buy and love the products we make. Our current, record proposal on the table provides historic wage increases and job security, while not jeopardizing our future. We are here to reach an agreement, So we can all get back to work and that’s our 100% focus.

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Stellandis said he is working hard to reach an agreement with the union.

“We have made progress in our discussions, but there are gaps,” a company statement said. “We are committed to pursuing these issues in an expeditious manner to reach a fair and responsible agreement that gets everyone back to work as soon as possible.”

Ford did not immediately comment on the extension of the strike.

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The union is on strike against three union auto manufacturers For the first time in its historyThe UAW began walkouts on September 15 with 12,700 members targeting an assembly plant for each company.

That was a week ago Added a series of 38 parts and distribution centers Driven by GM and Stellantis in 20 states, but Ford did not expand the strike, the automaker said it had made significant progress in negotiations.

The four family SUVs built at the struck plants represent the bread and butter of the two companies’ lineups. Although not the high-profit, high-volume sellers represented by the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado pickups, the production shutdown will challenge Ford and GM’s bottom line.

All three companies are offering the union at least 10 percent immediate raises and 10 percent general wage increases for the 145,000 UAW members at the companies over the life of the proposed contract. of 2028.

But the union is seeking significantly larger wage increases and improved pension and health benefits, revising benefits in 2007 and 2009 when automakers all faced financial crisis, and both GM and Stellantis’ predecessor Chrysler were on the verge of bankruptcy and federal bailouts. .

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Now companies are making record or near-record profits, and the union is demanding “record contracts” accordingly.

Three days after the expansion of the strike, President Joe Biden became the first president to visit the picket line. He told the members that they deserve more than they are being paid and urged them to be strong in their demands.

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