Amid UAW strike big automakers send workers home

September 18, 2023

On day four of the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike, Ford told 600 workers Monday not to report to work in Michigan while General Motors warned 2,000 workers they’ll be sent home this week in Kansas. 

The strike began at midnight Friday when contract agreements to cover the UAW’s 145,000 members could not be reached, leading to the first-ever nationwide UAW strike being called simultaneously at all of the Big Three automakers in Detroit. 

Nearly 13,000 UAW members walked out at three plants: General Motors in Wentzville, Missouri; Ford in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellanits in Toledo, Ohio.

Stellantis builds vehicles under the Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Chrysler brands for North America. 

Ford said its layoffs at its Michigan Assembly Plant’s body construction department were due to the paint shop being on strike, and the metal parts they make need to be coated promptly for protection.

GM, meawhile, said the workers at Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas could be sent home this coming week due to a shortage of critical materials supplied by the stamping operations at its Wentzville plant in Missouri.

UAW President Shawn Fain said Monday that there were “minimal conversations over the weekend so the ball is in [the automakers’] court…We have a long way to go.”

The Big Three automakers have proposed 20% raises over the four-and-a-half year term of their proposed deals, though that is only half of what the UAW is demanding, though the union at one point during the talks offered to lower its demand to 36%.

The UAW is also asking for shorter work weeks, restored pensions and stronger job security as automakers make the shift to electric vehicles.

On Friday President Biden, who touts himself to be the most union-friendly U.S. President in history, urged the automakers to ensure that workers are given their “fair share” of the “record profits” the Big Three have enjoyed in recent years.

“Let’s be clear: no one wants a strike,” Biden insisted in his speech from the White House. To help expedite the standoff, he said he was dispatching Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House senior advisor Gene Sperling to offer their full support to the negotiating parties in reaching a contract.


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