UAW strike 2023 update: Workers approve deal at GM, last of three companies
Last updated: Monday, Nov. 20, at 12:44 p.m. This post will be continuously updated with updates about the United Auto Workers strike against Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Stellantis.
United Auto Workers members at General Motors Corp. have ratified their contract, following the lead of workers at Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV, the union confirmed Monday morning.
Nearly 55 percent of GM hourly members approved the deal, compared to 69 percent at Ford and 70 percent at Stellantis. The official vote follows tentative deals in late October that ended the 6 1/2-week strike.
“The members have spoken. After years of cutbacks, months of our Stand Up campaign, and weeks on the picket line, we have turned the tide for the American autoworker,” said UAW President Shawn Fain in a social media post.
The GM agreement includes a 25 percent wage increase throughout the duration of the contract that expires on April 30, 2028, and an 11 percent wage increase once the agreement is ratified.
Workers will also receive cost-of-living pay adjustments, which were terminated in 2009, and job security at battery plants for electric cars. Temporary workers will be converted to full-time after nine months, and GM workers can reach top pay after three years, down from eight.
The deals are similar at Ford and Stellantis, which makes Jeeps and Ram trucks.
“We are pleased our team members have ratified the new agreement that rewards our employees, protects the future of the business and allows us to continue to provide good jobs in communities across the U.S.” said Mary Barra, GM’s CEO said in a statement. “We can now move forward as one team doing what we do best - delivering great products for our customers and winning together.” — Janelle D. James
Monday, Oct. 30
UAW agrees to temporary pact with GM
Union Auto Workers members are soon headed back to work after the likely conclusion of a nearly seven-week walkout against the three domestic automakers, all with headquarters in southeast Michigan.
The union reached a tentative agreement with General Motors Corp. on Monday morning, two sources with knowledge of the deal told Bridge Michigan.
The deal adds to accords reached in recent days with Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis, the maker of Jeep and Ram vehicles.
The UAW launched its historic “stand-up strike” against targeted plants on Sept. 15, costing the U.S. economy an estimated $9.3 billion in the first five weeks of walkouts.
The latest tentative agreement means that about 145,000 UAW members at the Detroit-area automakers may soon be covered by a new and more lucrative 4.5-year contract.
Details were not immediately available on the deal with GM, which had offered 25 percent raises in recent days to match tentative contracts with Ford and Stellantis.
Those deals also included enhanced retirement benefits and a faster progression to the top pay rate of over $40 per hour, or about $83,000 per year. GM reportedly had been close to similar financial outcomes.
"The Stand Up Strike will go down in history as an inflection point for our union, and for our movement,” according to a UAW statement on Monday that did not confirm the pending GM deal.
The tentative agreement with GM comes six days after UAW President Shawn Fain escalated the strike by calling a walkout at GM’s Arlington, Texas, assembly plant, sending 5,000 workers to the picket line at the highly profitable factory that makes full-size SUVs.
More recently, 3,500 employees at GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee factory went on strike Saturday night, the same day Stellantis reached a deal with the union. The factory makes SUVs, including the Cadillac XT5 and ST6 and the all-electric Lyric. It’s also the site of a new EV battery plant where GM expects to launch Ultium platform battery production early next year.
Progress toward a contract had been reported, notably after an hours-long meeting between Fain and GM CEO Mary Barra on Thursday.
By Saturday evening, after reportedly negotiating nearly nonstop, both sides expressed frustration.
The recent walkouts at GM put about 18,000 of its hourly employees across multiple states on strike. Among them were several thousand in Michigan, with the most at the Lansing Delta Township Assembly and Flint Processing Center.
Aside from pay and benefits, the UAW had pushed for job security. The deal with Stellantis restores production at its Belvidere, Illinois, Jeep Cherokee factory near Chicago that it closed in February. Stellantis also reportedly agreed to keep the Trenton engine plant operating. All told, Fain said Saturday, the UAW agreement with Stellantis retains 5,000 jobs and will add that many to its U.S. manufacturing sites.
The Ford contract details released on Sunday calls for investments into new products at existing facilities, along with what union leaders called a pathway for EV battery plants to unionize and employ Ford workers under their contract.
The UAW had battled GM for the company to bring its EV battery workers under union contracts. Fain said midway through the strike that GM had made that commitment, but the automaker hadn’t confirmed that.
As GM settles the strike, the automaker stands to avoid steeper losses from production halts. GM reported its third-quarter earnings last week, saying the strike had cost it $800 million. The automaker was estimating ongoing costs of $200 million per week.
The strike costs reported on Tuesday were enough for GM to give up on its earlier forecast that called for pre-tax profits of $12 billion to $14 billion this year.
Ratification on all three tentative deals will follow over the next several weeks. — Paula Gardner
Strike updates at a glance:
Oct. 28: Stellantis reaches tentative agreement
Oct. 25: Ford, UAW agree to tentative deal
Oct 24: GM expands strike to Arlington Assembly in Texas
Oct. 23: Stellantis 'outraged' as strike expands to Sterling Heights Ram plant
Oct. 20: Fain reports progress with GM, Stellantis
Oct. 19: Ford lays off 150 in Sterling Heights
Oct. 18: Layoffs increasing among manufacturers
Oct. 16: Bill Ford Jr. seeks end of strike
Oct. 12: Ford has 'reached its limit,' exec says
Oct. 11: Walkout spreads to Kentucky Truck, Ford's most profitable factory
Oct. 10: Stellantis orders more layoffs
Oct. 9: Mack Truck workers reject deal, join strike
Oct. 6: GM agrees to place EV factories under contract
Oct. 6: No new UAW strike targets as GM brings battery plants under union contract
Oct. 2: Economic worries mount
Sept. 25: Fain slams Ford for halting Michigan EV factory
Sept. 22: UAW calls 38 new walkouts to cripple U.S. parts supplies
Sept 21: GM President Mark Reuss blames UAW for 'clouds of rhetoric
Sept. 20: Michigan businesses brace for longer-term strike
Sept. 20: Strike enters 6th day; more walkouts possible Friday
Sept. 18: Fain: UAW strike could expand Friday to more factories
Sept. 18: Trump returns to Michigan to court striking workers
Sept. 17: Shawn Fain warns strike could widen
Sept. 16: Sanders decries 'corporate greed' at UAW rally
Sept. 15: Biden says UAW workers deserve record contracts
Sept. 14: Here are the UAW demands
Sept. 13: What to know about Shawn Fain
Sept. 12: What a strike would cost Michigan
Saturday, Oct. 28
Stellantis reaches tentative agreement
The United Auto Workers reached a tentative contract agreement with Stellantis on Saturday.
The deal will cover about 42,000 U.S. workers at the Dutch automaker that now owns the Chrysler brands and still makes Michigan its North American headquarters.
With the deal, two of the three domestic automakers will have reached deals for strikers to return to work, ending their portions of a historic six-week walkout that cost the U.S. economy an estimated $9.3 billion in the first five weeks.
Stellantis matched the 25 percent raises over the 4.5 year life of the contract that helped Ford Motor Co. reach a deal on Wednesday. General Motors also has reportedly agreed to that pay rate, but the company's negotiations with the union continue.
“We not only won a record contract, but we have begun to turn the tide on the war on the American working class,” UAW President Shaw Fain said on a livestream video shortly after 6 p.m.
Among Stellantis concessions notable for Michigan, Bloomberg reports, the automaker also agreed to keep the Trenton engine plant open. The north portion of the factory had already been idled and the other — employing about 600 — was a sore spot for union workers who worried about cutbacks.
The automaker also said it would reopen its Belvidere, Ill., factory that it closed in February. The Jeep Cherokee factory was closed, the company said at the time, because the company’s EV costs were too high to maintain operations at multiple assembly plants.
Now, reports say, Stellantis is saying it will move different vehicle production into the factory, located about 70 miles northwest of Chicago.
The deal comes after a week of intense negotiations and an escalating strike: On Monday, 6,800 workers walked out at Sterling Heights Axle, Stellantis’ largest factory in Michigan, idling production of the Ram 1500 truck. A day later, the UAW went on strike at the General Motors factory in Arlington, Texas.
Ford averted another walkout at its factories by settling on Wednesday.
"Our stand up strike has delivered," UAW President Shawn Fain told members during a Facebook video at about 8:30 p.m.
With the tentative deal, about 14,000 Stellantis workers will return to work. Ratification could take weeks. In the case of the Ford contract, the first step will be to take a vote of a national council to put the contract up for a member vote, which would follow a series of information sessions.
About 145,000 workers are covered by UAW contracts with the three automakers.
Friday, Oct. 27
GM, Stellantis offer 25 percent raises
General Motors Corp. and Stellantis have offered United Auto Workers a 25-percent wage increase, hoping to end the union's six-week strike against the Big Three domestic automakers.
The offers come soon Ford Motor Co. and the UAW agreed to a tentative deal that included the same raise.
That raise is the largest of its kind to the union in years. Along with cost of living increases, the top wage at Ford would rise some 30 percent to $40 an hour by the end of the four-year contract.
The Detroit News and other media outlets reported that talks between the UAW and Stellantis, which makes Jeeps and Ram trucks, went well into the morning Friday. Movement toward a settlement accelerated in the days after the targeted strike spread to the car manufacturers' top money-making plants that manufacture luxury SUVs, including Stellantis' Sterling Heights Assembly Plant that makes Ram 1500 trucks.
Wednesday, Oct. 25
Ford, UAW agree to tentative deal
The striking United Auto Workers reached a tentative agreement with Ford Motor Co., UAW President Shawn Fain announced Wednesday evening.
"Our stand up strike has delivered," Fain told members during a Facebook video at about 8:30 p.m.
The tentative deal is the first step toward ending the historic strike that started Sept. 15 against the Detroit-area legacy automakers: Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.
The strike started with a walkout at one plant from each automaker, but spread over weeks to reach more than 50,000 of the UAW's 146,000 national members working in the auto plants.
Earlier this week, Fain called two more plants to walk out: Stellantis' Sterling (Heights) Assembly Plant in Michigan and GM's Arlington Assembly Plant.
"We knew we were getting close, but we also knew the companies needed a major push if we were going to get every penny in this process," Fain said Wednesday.
Among the provisions in the tentative deal with Ford is overall wage increases of 25 percent, the union was told. The deal was struck hours before the automaker releases its third-quarter earnings report on Thursday.
Union demands have included a wage increase, an end to the two-tier wage system started during the Great Recession, improved retirement benefits and cost of living adjustments. The UAW also seeks what it calls a "just transition" with union wages offered when automakers increase electric vehicle production.
Reaction to the deal was swift in Michigan, where concerns have been mounting over economic losses spreading. By Monday, reports indicated that after five weeks, the strike had cost the U.S. about $9.3 billion in economic activity.
“There is a lot riding on these negotiations," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. "We are in a fierce competition with the rest of the world for the future of manufacturing."
She continued: "I hope this momentum will help the UAW and the remaining companies reach an agreement so Michiganders can get back to doing what they do best."
Sandy K. Baruah, president of the Detroit Regional Chamber, also called the deal good news and potentially a positive sign for the other two automakers still in negotiations.
“This strike has gone on for far too long,” Baruah said. “The short- and long- term damage is now what the companies and communities will have to begin to address.”
During negotiations, all three automakers have warned that long-term profitability and viability could be hurt if labor costs go too high. GM tapped the brakes on some of its EV production plans, including slowing construction at Orion Assembly in Oakland County, and Ford paused its plans to build an EV battery plant in Marshall.
The union countered that by pointing to recent record-making profits among the three.
The UAW National Ford Council will come to Detroit on Sunday to vote on whether to send the contract on to membership for a vote. If so, Fain said contract details will be available to members Sunday night via Facebook. Members then will vote, after a series of information sessions.
– Paula Gardner
Tuesday, Oct. 24
GM expands strike to Arlington Assembly in Texas
The United Auto Workers expanded its strike to General Motors’ Arlington Assembly Plant in Texas Tuesday morning. The plant, which makes full-sized SUVs including the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade, is the most profitable factory in North America.
About 5,000 members at that plant were ordered to walk out and join the so-called Stand Up Strike at 10 a.m., the same day GM released its report of quarter 3 earnings.
GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobsons told investors that the strike has caused a loss of $200 million per week for the company, and the lost production is estimated to be a $600 million impact.
“We are disappointed by the escalation of this unnecessary and irresponsible strike,” the company said in a statement. “It is harming our team members who are sacrificing their livelihoods and having negative ripple effects on our dealers, suppliers and the communities that rely on us.”
GM said they provided an offer to the UAW “that increased the already substantial and historic offers we have made by approximately 25 percent in total value.”
Tuesday morning’s walkout came just a day after 6,800 UAW members at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant walked out, shutting down production at what the union claims it’s Stellantis’ biggest moneymaker.
The workers make the best-selling Ram 1500 trucks.
– Janelle D. James
Monday, Oct. 23
Stellantis 'outraged' as strike expands to Sterling Heights Ram plant
The United Auto Workers’ strike spread further in Michigan on Monday when 6,800 employees at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant walked out, shutting down production at what the union called “Stellantis’ largest plant and biggest moneymaker.”
The factory makes the best-selling Ram 1500 trucks.
Stellantis, the union said, “has the worst proposal on the table regarding wage progression, temporary worker pay and conversion to full-time, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and more.”
Stellantis has proposed 21.3 percent pay increases, compared to 23 percent for General Motors and Ford.
Stellantis released a statement saying it is “outraged” by the expansion, noting that the union’s “continued disturbing strategy of ‘wounding’ all the Detroit Three will have long-lasting consequences.”
“With every decision to strike, the UAW sacrifices domestic market share to non-union competition,” the company wrote in a statement, Monday afternoon.
The company said it presented an offer on Thursday, expecting a counter-offer but haven’t received one.
The walkout brings the total of UAW members on strike at the Detroit area automakers — General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis — to 40,000.
Tens of thousands of striking workers are at Michigan-based factories. The Sterling Heights Assembly Plant is the largest.
Friday, Oct. 20
Fain reports progress with GM, Stellantis
The month-long United Auto Workers strike against the Big Three auto companies continues, but improved offers from General Motors Corp. and Stellantis means the walkout won’t expand, union president Shawn Fain announced Friday.
“I'm happy to report that in the past 24 hours, we've seen serious movement from both Stellantis and GM. Meanwhile, Ford continues to stew … and pretend they can't afford what we're asking for,” Fain said during an address on Facebook Live.
General Motors on Friday offered a 23 percent raise for UAW members, while Stellantis has proposed 21.4 percent increases. Ford had already offered 23 percent raises.
The UAW is demanding to end the wage tiers and wants to convert temporary workers to full-time ones after 90 days. The companies have had some movement on tiers, but not enough for the UAW.
Fain singled out Ford on Friday, even though the company eliminated tiers at some plants and cut wage progression to four years.
"These extremely profitable companies have more to give,” Fain said.
His comments came after Ford chair Bill Ford Jr. this week called for an end to the strike, and another company executive said the company had no more to give.
The strike began on Sept. 15 and has extended to several plants in Michigan and nationwide.
Now, UAW members at Mack Trucks Inc. of North Carolina, MGM Grand, MotorCity and Hollywood Casino at Greektown and at Blue Cross Blue Shield are on strike alongside autoworkers. — Janelle D. James
Friday, Oct. 20
Stellantis won't attend LA Auto Show
Stellantis, owner of former Fiat-Chrysler, has cancelled its plans to attend the SEMA conference and the Los Angeles Auto Show due to the United Auto Workers strike, the company announced Friday.
The Las Vegas conference hosted by the Specialty Equipment Market Association is a four-day event that attracts manufacturers of automotive accessories.
The announcement comes just days after the company cancelled its presentation at the CES conference in January, which showcases manufacturers, developers and technology suppliers, citing the UAW strike.
The strike began over a month ago after the contract between the UAW and the Big Three expired prompting a walkout of thousands of workers.
UAW President Shawn Fain is expected to give an update on the strike during a Facebook Live event at 4 p.m. on Oct. 20. — Janelle D. James
Thursday, Oct. 19
Ford lays off 150 in Sterling Heights
Ford Motor Co. on Thursday announced that 150 workers will be laid off at the Sterling Axle Plant in Sterling Heights because of the United Auto Workers strike.
Ford attributed the layoffs to am Oct. 11 walkout at the company’s Kentucky Truck Plant, which makes luxury SUVs.
"Our production system is highly interconnected, which means the UAW’s targeted strike strategy has knock-on effects for facilities that are not directly targeted for a work stoppage. In this case, the strike at Kentucky Truck Plant has directly impacted some operations at Sterling Axle Plant," the company said in a statement late Wednesday.
"This layoff is a consequence of the strike, because Sterling Axle Plant must reduce its production of parts that would normally be shipped to Kentucky Truck Plant."
The company has laid off 2,730 workers at 10 sites in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio since the strike began on Sept. 15. General Motors and Stellantis have made strike-related layoffs as well. — Janelle D. James
Thursday, Oct. 18
Layoffs increasing among manufacturers
Manufacturers are feeling the strain of a month-long United Auto Workers strike against the Big Three auto companies.
The Michigan Manufacturers Association on Wednesday released a poll of nearly 700 members that found widespread reduced orders, supply chain disruptions and layoffs.
“The impact is far-reaching and will have long-term effects for the manufacturing industry and every industry and community that relies on it,” John J. Walsh, president and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association, said in a written statement.
Since the strike began on Sept. 15, about 24 percent of manufacturers polled indicated that business has slowed, while 27 percent reported they have had or will soon will launch them, according to the poll of nearly 40 percent of the association's 1,800 members.
The strike also caused automaker Stellantis this week to cancel its presentation at the January CES conference in Las Vegas, which showcases manufacturers, developers and technology suppliers.
“In light of the current status of negotiations in the United States, preserving business fundamentals and therefore protecting the future of the company is a top priority of Stellantis leadership,” according to a statement from the company. — Janelle D. James
Monday, Oct. 16
Bill Ford Jr. seeks end of strike
Ford’s executive chair and great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford urged the UAW to settle the strike so that the automaker could move forward alongside the union, which he described as friends and partners over many years.
Ford also did not accept UAW President Shawn Fain’s characterization of the Detroit automakers as an enemy in the contract battle. He noted that Ford builds its F-series trucks in the U.S. and that it’s committed to American manufacturing despite competition.
“It should be Ford and the UAW against Toyota, Honda, Tesla and all the Chinese companies that want to enter our home market,” Ford said. “.... This is about the future of the American automobile industry.”
But Fain, who wore a T-shirt during a recent video presentation that read, “Eat the Rich,” criticized Ford.
“Bill Ford knows exactly how to settle this strike,” Fain said in a statement. “Instead of threatening to close the Rouge, he should call up (Ford President) Jim Farley, tell him to stop playing games and get a deal done, or we’ll close the Rouge for him.
“It's not the UAW and Ford against foreign automakers. It's autoworkers everywhere against corporate greed.”
As chairman, Ford’s total compensation was $17.3 million in 2022, according to a report in the Detroit News. That was down from $18.7 million in 2021.
Friday, Oct. 13
No expansion today to walkout, Shawn Fain says
United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain on Friday called on all 400,000 of the union’s members to hit the picket lines on Saturday in solidarity with autoworkers who are striking against the Big Three.
Speaking on Facebook Live, Fain did not announce an expansion of the month-long strike against Ford Motor Co., General Motors, and Stellantis, owners of former Fiat-Chrysler. Two days earlier, the union beefed up the strike when 8,700 union members walked out of Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, which makes luxury SUVs and is the company’s most profitable factory.
“Ford thought they could wait till Friday morning and then just make a better offer. They stopped being interested in reaching a fair deal now and only became interested in gaming our system of announcing strike expansions on Friday,” he said.
“We will be calling out plants when we need to, where we need to, with little notice. So stay ready, not just Fridays and not just Ford.”
Ford released a statement calling the strike “grossly irresponsible but unsurprising given the union leadership’s stated strategy of keeping the Big Three wounded for months through ‘reputational damage’ and ‘industrial chaos.’” — Janelle D. James
Thursday, Oct. 12
Ford has 'reached its limit,' exec says
A top Ford Motor Co. executive said Thursday the company had “reached its limit” in what it can offer striking United Auto Workers.
The comment came during a turbulent 24-hours that included UAW President Shawn Fain’s decision Wednesday evening to order union workers at a valued Ford plant in Kentucky to strike.
The gambit resulted in 8,700 UAW members walking out of Ford Motor Co.'s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville Wednesday night. Over 12,000 employees work at the Truck plant and the Assembly plant also located in Louisville.
“As a company, if we go further, we will lose the ability to invest in the business and profitably grow and profitable growth is in the best interests of everyone associated with Ford,” Kumar Galhotra, who leads Ford Blue, Ford's internal-combustion business, said of the union’s continuing demands in the media call Thursday afternoon.
The Kentucky plant is one of the company’s most profitable, generating about $25 billion in revenue yearly. The plant is interconnected with 13 other plants across the county, feeding over 600 suppliers.
The UAW is waging a simultaneous strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.
Ford’s seventh and most recent offer includes a 20-percent wage increase for permanent employees, reducing the time it takes to reach top pay to four years, and cost of living allowances. Temporary employees will get a 26-percent wage increase for temporary employees and become full-time employees after 3 months of “continuous service.”
“We came here today to get another offer from Ford. Unfortunately, this offer is the same exact one they gave us two weeks ago,” Fain said Wednesday in a pre-recording video on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
He is expected to host another Facebook Live event at 10 a.m. Friday. – Janelle D. James
Wednesday, Oct. 11
Walkout spreads to Kentucky Truck, Ford's most profitable factory
The United Auto Workers upped the ante on its nearly monthly strike against domestic automakers, ordering a walkout of its 8,700 members at Ford Motor Co.'s Kentucky Truck Plant in Lousivlle on Wednesday evening.
BREAKING: The 8,700 UAW members at Ford’s iconic and extremely profitable Kentucky Truck Plant have joined the Stand Up Strike after Ford refuses to make further movement in bargaining.— UAW (@UAW) October 11, 2023
Workers are walking off the job right now.
The action is a major escalation because the plant makes larger versions of Ford's most profitable vehicle, the F150, as well as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. CNN reported the vehicles produced at the plant generate $25 billion in annual revenue for the Dearborn-based company, one-sixth of its total global revenue.
Before Wednesday, the UAW had targeted plants that make smaller, less profitable trucks, including one in Wayne that makes the Ford Ranger small pickup and Chicago Assembly.
“It’s time for a fair contract at Ford and the rest of the Big Three," UAW President Shawn Fain said. "If they can’t understand that after four weeks, the 8,700 workers shutting down this extremely profitable plant will help them understand it.”
The expansion came followed Ford's seventh contract offer to the UAW last week, which included a 20 percent raise for general members, 26 percent pay raise for temporary workers, cost of living pay increases, a bigger 401(k) contribution and increased time off. Ford said that averaged five weeks of vacation, 17 paid holidays and two family days.
Ford released a statement calling the strike expansion "grossly irresponsible but unsurprising" that will have "serious consequences for our workforce, suppliers, dealers and commercial customers."
The UAW has been on strike against Ford, General Motors Corp. and Stellantis since Sept. 15. The latest walkout means more than 30,000 members are on strike at 44 plants.
Tuesday, Oct. 10
Stellantis orders more layoffs
Stellantis on Monday laid off another 570 employees amid the ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers against the Big Three car manufacturers, bringing the total number of layoffs by the owners of Fiat-Chrysler to 640 since the strike began Sept. 15.
The layoffs are “a consequence of the UAW strike action at the Toledo Assembly Complex,” the company said. The plant, which makes the Jeep Gladiator, Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler 4xe, was among the first facilities targeted by the UAW.
The layoffs include 520 at Trenton Engine Complex in Wayne County and 50 at the Kokomo Casting Plant in Indiana. Their last work day was on Oct. 6. There were about 70 employee layoffs at the Toledo Machining plant in Ohio. Their last day was on Sept. 22.
About 300 other employees were laid off from the Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo casting plants on Sept.22 but have since returned to work.
General Motors and Ford Motor Co. announced similar layoffs on Monday, idling an additional 155 GM workers at Toledo Propulsion Systems, Lansing Regional Stamping and Marion Metal Center in Indiana.
Ford has laid off 1,800 workers, including 71 at Livonia Transmission, according to the Detroit Free Press. — Janelle D. James
Monday, Oct. 9
Mack Truck workers reject deal, join strike
About 4,000 United Auto Workers members in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida went on strike Monday morning after rejecting a tentative agreement with Mack Trucks Inc. of North Carolina.
"I'm inspired to see UAW members at Mack holding out for a better deal, and ready to stand up and walk off the job to win it," Shawn Fain, UAW president, wrote in a letter to the company.
Some 73 percent of union members on Sunday voted against the deal with the company that is owned by Volvo Group. The tentative agreement included a $3,500 bonus, a 10 percent pay after approval of the contract and a 19 percent raise over the five-year contract, Reuters reported.
Fain said other issues, including job security, health and safety and overtime “remain at issue.” The union was on strike in 2019 when the contract with Mack Truck ended resulting in a two-week strike. There were 3,500 workers on strike in addition to the 46,000 workers on strike against General Motors.
The addition of Mack Truck means that the UAW now has more than 30,000 members on strike in 22 states.The strike against the Big Three automakers began on Sept. 15. In all, the UAW has 146,000 members and 25,000 are on strike at factories of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Corp. and Stellantis.
Meanwhile, layoffs are mounting at General Motors, Ford and suppliers, as Sodecia Automotive Detroit filed notice that it laid off 62 percent of its workers, according to the Detroit Free Press.— Janelle D. James
Friday, Oct. 6
GM agrees to place EV factories under contract
General Motors Co. will place electric vehicle battery factories under the United Auto Workers master agreement, responding to the union’s demand for a “just transition” to EV production, UAW President Shawn Fain announced Friday during a Facebook Live event.
Fain said GM made the offer after he threatened to call on workers from its Arlington, Texas factory to go on strike on Friday. The plant produces profit-driving full-size SUVs, including the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.
“The plan was to draw down (workers at) engine and transmission plants and permanently replace them with low-wage battery jobs,” Fain said as he wore a shirt that read, “Eat the Rich” during the broadcast.
“We had a different plan, and now that plan is winning at GM,” he said. “We expect it to win at Ford and Stellantis as well.”
Fain did not call on more workers to strike, even as no contract agreements have been finalized yet. More than 25,000 workers remain on strike at 43 plants since the walkout began on Sept.15. Fain did not indicate when he believes the strike will end.
Workers are given $500 per week for strike pay, which has caused financial hardship for some.
“We got to do what we got to do, but I'm ready to go back to work,” said Cynthia Franklin, 43, of Detroit. “You can’t pay nothing with $500. That’s one bill, if that.”
Franklin is a striking worker at the GM processing center in Ypsilanti, where she has worked for about four years. The site has been on strike for two weeks of the month-long strike.
Fain has targeted assembly plants and distribution centers opposed to having workers at all plants from the three companies go on strike at once. Franklin said she wished he would have “hit them where it hurts,” in order to speed up the negotiation process.
“We don’t strike for the hell of it. We know what it’s like to hold a picket sign at 3 a.m. We know what it's like to be unsure when you’ll get a real paycheck,” Fain said. “The CEOs are trying to trivialize our strike, saying it’s just theatrics. ”
GM did not directly address the EV battery plant offer cited by Fain.
“Negotiations remain ongoing, and we will continue to work toward finding solutions to address outstanding issues,” it said in a statement. “Our goal remains to reach an agreement that rewards our employees and allows GM to be successful into the future.”
Let me congratulate Shawn Fain & the @UAW for making sure that electric battery manufacturing at GM will be done by UAW workers. It's time for Ford and Stellantis to do the same. When workers stand together in the fight for economic justice there is nothing they cannot…— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 6, 2023
The latest offers from automakers:
Ford Motor Co. has agreed to a 23 percent wage increase, adjustments to cost of living expenses and starting temporary workers at $21 an hour.
But ending the tier-system is an ongoing fight among the Big Three. Ford has agreed to end the tiers, while GM and Stellantis offered to shorten the time to reach top pay to four years.
Stellantis said after Fain’s presentation that negotiations “have good momentum.”
“Since the beginning of these negotiations, our focus hasn’t wavered – that is, to reach a balanced agreement as soon as possible that establishes the framework that will allow the company to be competitive and sustainable in a rapidly changing market and brings our workforce along on the journey,” Stellantis wrote in a press statement. – Janelle D. James
Friday, Oct. 6
No new UAW strike targets as GM brings battery plants under union contract
General Motors is offering to bring its electric vehicle battery workers under the national union agreement, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain announced on Friday.
The news — coming at the last minute before Fain had planned to call a strike at GM’s Arlington, Texas, full-size SUV factory — was deemed a negotiating victory in the union’s four-week strike against Detroit-area automakers, he said.
The move also prompted the UAW to pause Friday from adding new strike targets.
“GM did something that was unthinkable until just today,” Fain said, referring to the union’s demands for a “just transition” from gas-fueled vehicles to EVs.
“This victory is a direct result of the power of our membership.”
Negotiations will continue between the union and Detroit-area automakers Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis, along with GM.
The so-called “stand up strike” started Sept. 15 with three walkouts at three factories — including Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne — before mushrooming to 40 additional sites over two successive weeks.
Both GM and Ford issued updated offers this week. UAW demands include a 36 percent wage hike over four years, along with better retiree benefits, a shorter work week and an edit to the two-tier system started after the Great Recession to allow new hires to be paid less and take longer to reach the top of the pay scale.
The path to vehicle electrification also has been an issue, with the UAW calling it a job-security measure as production shifts.
Ford CEO Jim Farley said last week that the UAW was “holding (a deal) hostage” over calls to have a greater say over electric battery plants Ford intends to build and operate in Michigan and elsewhere, including in Marshall, where it has “paused” plans to build a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant expected to employ 2,500 workers.
GM is building four EV battery factories in the U.S., including one in Delta Township, west of Lansing.
Over the course of the strike, the economic impact across the U.S. has reached an estimated $4 billion. That total includes the wages lost by 25,000 workers and additional laid-off non striking workers, along with lost revenue from the automakers and their suppliers. — Paula Gardner
Thursday, Oct. 5
GM makes sixth offer; Shawn Fain to give update Friday
General Motors Corp. (GM) on Thursday announced it has made a counteroffer to United Auto Workers amid ongoing negotiations over the work stoppage, the sixth offer since contract negotiations began in July.
The offer is the most recent since Sept. 21, when the auto company says it made a “historic” counteroffer to the UAW. General Motors declined to provide details, but the Detroit Free Press reported that sources feel there is progress.
“We believe we have a compelling offer that would reward our team members and allow GM to succeed and thrive into the future,” GM wrote to the Detroit Free Press.
UAW President Shawn Fain is expected to host another Facebook Live event at 2 p.m. Friday. Fain has used the platform to give weekly updates since the strike against the Big Three automakers’ assembly plants started on Sept. 15.
Ford Motor Co. made what it called a “comprehensive” offer Wednesday that included a 26 percent pay increase when compounded, the seventh and strongest, the company announced.
“There’s no doubt our UAW workforce put us on their shoulders during the pandemic, and these same workers and their families were hit hard by inflation,” said Jim Farley, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company in a written statement.
“We want to make sure our workers come out of these negotiations with two things – a record contract and a strong future.”
Among other things, the UAW wants to end a tiered pay system, increase wages more than 40 percent and convert temporary employees to full-time employees after 90 days. — Janelle D. James
Tuesday, Oct. 2
Economic worries mount
As the national United Auto Workers strike continues to ramp up, with two more assembly plants added to the total on Friday, the strike is taking a toll on the economy.
A report released Monday from Anderson Economic Group of East Lansing estimates that the first two weeks of the strike have cost the U.S. economy $3.95 billion.
As of Friday, before 7,000 additional workers joined the picket lines, Anderson estimated the U.S. economy had lost:
- $325 million in direct wages
- $1.12 billion in earnings for General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis
- $1.29 billion in supplier wages and earnings
- $1.2 billion in revenue for auto dealers
These numbers have likely climbed since Friday when the UAW added additional strike targets. There are now about 25,000 workers on strike at 43 plants, warehouse and automotive facilities.
“Suppliers were particularly hard-hit by the UAW’s strategy of announcing specific plants to be struck just hours before they were shut down,” said Patrick Anderson, AEG’s principal and CEO.
He noted that when walkouts shut down 38 U.S. distribution centers on September 22, the strike’s impact spread to dealers, customers, and additional suppliers.
Michigan retailers are starting to wonder if the strike is reaching them, after watching sales plummet in August as union leaders told workers to start saving.
“Our folks are nervous about what the strike holds,” Andrea Bitely, spokesperson for the Michigan Retailers Association, told Bridge on Tuesday.
In August, 56 percent of the retailers surveyed by the MRA experienced sales declines over the previous month, and optimism also declined since July. In August, just over half of Michigan’s retailers said they expect flat or declining sales in November as the holiday season takes off.
Since the strike started on September 15, many of the state’s retailers are saying they see customers willing to spend money on necessities, but not on discretionary items. This could be related to student loan payments, which had been frozen in recent years due the pandemic, now coming due. But retailers are concerned that the strike will further suppress spending, Bitely said.
“There's definitely uncertainty going into the holidays, because the longer the strike lasts, the last disposable income folks will have to make those holiday purchases and the holidays are the lifeblood for retail,” she said.
— Paula Gardner
Monday Sept. 25
Fain slams Ford for halting Michigan EV factory
UAW President Shawn Fain on Monday night criticized Ford Motor Co. for pausing construction of its $3.5 billion EV factory in early stages of construction in Marshall.
“This is a shameful, barely-veiled threat by Ford to cut jobs," Fain said in a statement. "Closing 65 plants over the last 20 years wasn’t enough for the Big Three, now they want to threaten us with closing plants that aren’t even open yet. We are simply asking for a just transition to electric vehicles and Ford is instead doubling down on their race to the bottom.”
Ford spokesman T.R. Reid said a "number of considerations," which he didn’t disclose, influenced the Dearborn-based automaker’s move, which comes as the United Auto Workers union is on strike at a Ford factory in Wayne along with about 40 other Detroit automaker operations in the U.S.
Friday, Sept. 22
Biden visits Michigan on Tuesday
President Joe Biden will take the United Auto Workers up on its offer to come to Michigan in an historic show of support for striking workers.
“I’ll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create,” Biden said Friday afternoon on X (formerly Twitter).
Biden also said it’s time for an agreement between the UAW and the Big Three legacy auto companies. The strike against Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis started on Friday, Sept. 15, at three factories. — Paula Gardner
Friday, Sept. 22
Normal day at work — until strike launched at noon Friday
It was a normal day at the General Motors Willow Run Redistribution Center in Belleville until United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain announced that 38 more plants were going on strike at noon during a Facebook Live event Friday.
People were huddling around listening, and once they heard the news, everybody knew what time it was, Wayne Waller, 37, Belleville, said.
“I‘m standing in solidarity with the union. “We want to fight for better wages, end tiers [and get] better health care coverage,” he said.
Waller first started at the Belleville plant in 2013, where he made $14.78 at the time. His wage has nearly doubled since then.
“Strike pay is not going to help us. It’s $500 a week,” Waller said. “I have a son entering his senior year and I have twin girls entering pre-school. So right now, it’s just a tough time.”
Though he was not surprised to hear he was going on strike, he is hopeful that he gains more than he did the last time he went on strike in 2019.
“This time, we’re just praying that we get something, rather than last time, we lost 42 days [of work] and gained nothing.”
Similarly, Keith Bees, 53, of Sumpter Township, has been on strike three times during his 12-year tenure at the GM plant.
“I’d like to see the tiers gone because it causes a lot of animosity in the plant amongst union members and that needs to go,” he said “I had to watch people everyday, do the same job I do, for less pay.”
Bees said he was prepared to go on strike and already had a second job. Strike pay, along with help from family members, will allow him to be on strike “as long as it takes.” - Janelle D. James
Friday, Sept. 22
Michigan workers at 13 logistics center join UAW walkout
Workers at the two parts distribution centers operated by General Motors on two sides of Willow Run Airport grabbed signs to start their picketing at noon Friday.
At the Ypsilanti Distribution Center on Tyler Road in Ypsilanti Township, Danard Harvard, 44, of Inkster, told Bridge Michigan he fully supports the strike.
“I’m on strike to end tiers,” he said.
Harvard hasn’t reached full seniority, but he’s close. People nearby in the parts facility make as much as $8 per hour more than him, due to the two-tiered wage structure for newer and longer-term workers.
Harvard was among a crowd of dozens standing near the facility's fence, parking in a turn lane to stay off the GM property. Traffic isn’t heavy there, but honking horns of support still sounded frequently during the first hour of the strike.
Similar crowds gathered about four miles away at the Willow Run Distribution Center in Van Buren Township. Many had been working when the strike was called, and they left their stations at noon, heading to their cars and out of the parking lot. Many smiled as they grabbed signs or greeted coworkers who now join them and thousands others across the U.S. on picket lines.
Harvard told Bridge that he may be able to survive for a few months on the $500 per week strike pay. Some workers, he said, make only a few dollars more than that now. — Janelle D. James
Friday, Sept. 22
Fain invites Biden and other supporters to join pickets
United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain on Friday invited President Joe Biden to picket with union members.
The call-out to the president follows former Republican President Donald Trump saying he planned to visit Michigan next week to court UAW members as he prepares another presidential bid, a move that Fain dismissed.
“Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” Fain said Tuesday after Trump’s announcement.
But the UAW also hasn’t endorsed Biden, a Democrat, in his reelection bid, even as many state and federal Democratic elected leaders in Michigan publicly back the union’s strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. The strike expanded on Friday when the UAW added 38 logistics centers across the country to the walkout.
“We invite you to join us in our fight,” Fain said Friday to Biden and others, seeking to build support. “The way you can help is to build our movement and show the companies that the public stands with us and stands with our elected national negotiators.”
— Paula Gardner
Friday, Sept. 22
UAW calls 38 new walkouts to cripple U.S. parts supplies
The United Auto Workers union will expand its strike to parts distribution centers of General Motors and Stellantis, a move that will affect 38 facilities in 20 states.
The strike starts at noon Friday, UAW Shawn Fain said during a Facebook live video on Friday morning.
“We will shut down parts distribution until those two companies come to their senses,” Fain said, describing how both automakers have not agreed to demands like a restoration of cost of living wage adjustments (COLA).
Ford, however, is excluded from the expanded strike.
“We’ve made some real progress at Ford,” Fain said, including COLA, the right to strike if a plant closes and immediate conversion of temporary workers to permanent.
GM’s striking distribution centers in Michigan have a combined total of 2,572 workers, according to the automaker. They are Davison Road Processing and Flint Processing in Genesee County; Lansing Redistribution Center in Eaton County; Pontiac Redistribution Center in Oakland County; and Willow Run Distribution Center in Wayne County and Ypsilanti Processing Center in Washtenaw County.
Stellantis’ MOPAR parts centers in Michigan are located in Marysville; Center Line, both a packaging center and a warehouse; MOPAR Sherwood, in Warren; Quality Engineering Center in Auburn Hills; Warren Parts; and MOPAR Romulus.
Workers in the parts distribution centers belong to the UAW but do not receive assembly-level wages, Fain said. If hired after 2015, a worker in one of the centers would top out at $25 per hour after eight years.
Other striking facilities are GM parts centers in Cincinnati; Denver; Hudson, Wisconsin; Chicago; Reno; Rancho Cucamonga, California; Fort Worth; Martinsburg, West Virginia; Jackson, Mississippi; Charlotte, North Carolina; Memphis and Philadelphia.
The out-of-state Stellantis sites are in Cleveland; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Denver; Chicago; Los Angeles; Portland; Atlanta; FCA Mopar in Winchester, Virginia; Orlando; Dallas; New York and Boston.
The UAW strike began early Sept. 15. The initial strike targets were a portion of Ford’s Michigan Assembly in Wayne, Stellantis’ Jeep complex in Toledo and GM’s commercial truck plant in Wentzville, Missouri, near St. Louis. Those sites will remain on strike.
Fallout from the strike has spread to workers not called to strike, as the automakers make layoffs due to production constraints. Among the first were 600 employees at Michigan Assembly, with Stellantis and GM adding additional layoffs.
— Paula Gardner
Thursday Sept. 21
GM President Mark Reuss blames UAW for 'clouds of rhetoric
General Motors President Mark Reuss blamed the United Auto Workers for a “flow of misinformation” about the automaker’s contract offers.
“Often in these situations, the clouds of rhetoric can obscure reality,” he wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday in the Detroit Free Press.
In it, the Detroit-based automaker pushed back on UAW statements that it doesn’t pay a decent wage and that its record profits can fund the union’s requests.
- 40 percent wage increase of the next four years, 46 percent when compounded
- Cost-of-living increases
32-hour work week with 40-hour pay
A cap on the number of temporary workers, and convert them to full-time seniority employment after 90 days
More paid time off and additional holidays
Job security through what is called the Working Family Protection Program, which includes the right to strike over plant closures
“As the past has clearly shown, nobody wins in a strike,” Reuss said in his opinion piece. “We have delivered a record offer. That is a fact. It rightly rewards our team members, while positioning the company for success in the future.” — Paula Gardner
Wednesday, Sept. 20
Michigan businesses brace for longer-term strike
Economic fallout from the UAW strike is pressuring the state’s business leaders, who are increasingly concerned about a long-term walkout.
A 10-day strike could cost the U.S. over $5 billion, according to a widely circulated report from Anderson Economic Group of East Lansing. The strike reached the halfway point of that forecast early Wednesday, raising questions about how costs could grow beyond that, and who would be harmed.
“Michigan’s economic vitality is tied into the auto industry,” said Jim Holcomb, Michigan Chamber president and CEO.
The longer the strike continues, the greater likelihood of impact beyond the factories and striking workers, Holcomb told Bridge.
Chamber members such as auto suppliers and auto dealers are telling Holcomb that they are preparing for strike-related layoffs. And small businesses and restaurants in auto-centric areas of the state are bracing for sales drops.
“I have business owners calling me really worried, asking me, ‘Have you heard anything? What do you know? We're really concerned.’”
Lack of word from automakers and the union over recent days leaves the state guessing, he added.
“Is it good because it means they're really negotiating hard and they're at the table? Or is it bad because nothing's going on?”
Michigan needs to fight for all auto-related jobs, including manufacturing, Holcomb said, since the state has long led the nation in automotive employment.
Yet he’s struggling with the union demands, as presented publicly, at a time when global competition and corresponding EV conversion pressures the Big Three legacy automakers to maintain their market share, which is now about 40 percent.
A 40 percent pay increase or return to pensions is not something that any chamber member is considering, Holcomb said. From a business perspective, he said, the UAW requests are “just not realistic.” — Paula Gardner
Wednesday, Sept. 20
More strike-related layoffs
Layoffs related to the UAW strike affecting three U.S. factories are starting to accumulate, as Stellantis announced on Wednesday that 368 workers at two non-Michigan plants will be idled.
This group joins 600 non-striking workers at Ford Motor Co.’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne. They were laid off last week, shortly after the strike began in a portion of the factory that makes the popular Broncos and Ranger pickups.
About 2,000 workers in Fairfax, Kansas, learned Wednesday that they are being laid off. GM had said the assembly factory could run out of parts this week, confirming to WDAF-TV in Kansas City on Wednesday that the UAW walkout at the Wentzville stamping plant near St. Louis created a “negative ripple effect."
The Stellantis layoffs are at the Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg, Ohio, near the Jeep complex that is the third national strike target. Additional layoffs are coming to the Kokomo, Indiana, transmission and casting plants.
Auto suppliers also are closely watching production changes due to the strike. CIE Newcor, a prototype maker that operates four sites in Michigan — Corunna, Clifford, and two in Owosso — filed a notice with the state last week that it could lay off 293 workers for one month by early October.
UAW President Shawn Fain will address members through a Facebook live video at 10 a.m. Friday, September 22, two hours before he has said more walkouts could be called.
— Paula Gardner
Wednesday, Sept. 20
Strike enters 6th day; more walkouts possible Friday
Wednesday is the sixth day of the United Auto Workers strike against all of the Big Three legacy automakers, with Friday looming as the day that more factories could be added to the list of targeted walkouts.
UAW President Shawn Fain will address members through a Facebook live video at 10 a.m. Friday, two hours before more walkouts could be called.
The initial strike is historic, as it's the first to affect all three automakers: Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis, the owner of the former Fiat-Chrysler.
It’s also unique in its “Stand Up” format, with walkouts determined with precision to hit specific targets. The first were Ford’s Michigan Assembly in Wayne, Stellantis’ Jeep complex in Toledo and GM’s commercial truck plant in Wentzville, Missouri, near St. Louis.
The automakers are not releasing details of the negotiations since Stellantis said on Monday that talks were “constructive and focused on where we can find common ground.”
Meanwhile, federal officials who President Joe Biden said would travel to Detroit as negotiations continued no longer plan to make the trip, CNN reported.
And details are still to come from former President Donald Trump’s expected campaign trip to the Detroit area next Wednesday, as he courts union voters and criticizes UAW leadership and Biden.
Criticism in turn was leveled at Trump by Fain and two Democratic Michigan Congress members, saying he wasn’t a pro-union president and that the negotiations are too sensitive for the U.S. economy for presidential campaigning. – Paula Gardner
Monday, Sept. 18
Fain: UAW strike could expand Friday to more factories
The United Auto Workers' strike against Big Three legacy automakers will expand on Friday from three walkouts to more if negotiations don’t yield progress.
UAW President Shawn Fain released a five-minute video on Facebook late Monday, announcing that more locals could be called upon to join the strike at noon Friday. He did not specify which factories could be affected.
“We’re going to keep hitting the company where we need to, when we need to,” Fain said. “And we’re not going to keep waiting around forever while they drag this out.”
In the video, Fain praised UAW members for their support of the walkouts at three factories: Ford’s Michigan Assembly in Wayne; the Toledo Jeep complex in Ohio; and General Motors’ Wentzville Assembly near St. Louis, Missouri.
He then turned to the union demands, saying it’s time for automakers to reward their hourly workers during a time when profits are record-setting and CEO wages are increasing.
Fain said striking workers will remain out until Friday, and he asked workers still reporting to their jobs to continue to show their support for the strike.
Only Stellantis released a statement about resuming negotiations on Monday, and in it the Dutch company that owns the former Fiat-Chrysler said it looked forward to resuming plant operations as soon as possible.
“The discussion was constructive and focused on where we can find common ground to reach an agreement that provides a bridge to the future by enabling the company to meet the challenges of electrification,” it said.
“We continue to listen to the UAW to identify where we can work together.” — Paula Gardner
Monday, Sept. 18
Trump returns to Michigan to court striking workers
Former President Donald Trump will return to Michigan next week to court striking union workers, according to a new report by The New York Times.
Trump is expected to skip the second Republican presidential debate on Sept. 27 and instead travel to Detroit, according to the newspaper. There he "intends to speak to over 500 workers, with his campaign planning to fill the room with plumbers, pipe-fitters, electricians, as well as autoworkers, according to one of the Trump advisers familiar with the planning," the Times reported.
Trump appealed to blue collar workers in his winning 2016 campaign and is working to do the same in 2024 as he seeks a return to the White House. During a June speech in Oakland County, Trump claimed Biden's push for electric vehicles will "decimate" Michigan.
While some auto sector jobs will change or disappear, many of Trump’s claims were inflated or not supported by the available evidence, according to a Bridge Michigan analysis. — Jonathan Oosting
Monday, Sept. 18
Stellantis seeks plant closures
Stellantis seeks to establish a new parts distribution network in the U.S. and will continue to invest in auto factories, but also has a plan to sell or close up to 18 facilities, according to a report from CNBC auto writer Michael Wayland.
Among the sites affected could be several in Michigan, according to the report.
On the list is the company's North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, which reportedly would remain the headquarters as well as a technical center. However, many of the company’s workers still work from home, raising options for how the company's excess space on the former Chrysler campus can be used.
Full closures could come for:
- The remaining portion of the Trenton engine plant, which has 760 employees and is already partially decommissioned.
- Mount Elliott Tool and Die in Detroit, where six union workers remain on-site, according to Stellantis corporate information
- And Detroit-based warehouse and office space.
And the company’s idled Belvidere, Illinois factory could be repurposed from factory to hub of a new parts distribution plan that could resemble Amazon’s model, Wayland reported.
The future of the Belvidere plant, which employed about 1,200 when idled early this year, was an early source of conflict between the United Auto Workers and Stellantis. UAW President Shawn Fain disclosed that the automaker sought changes for 18 of its sites just before calling a strike early Friday morning. Job protection has been a goal of the UAW in the contract talks, as automakers turn to electrification.
Stellantis said in a statement Friday that Fain’s comments came without context: “The vast majority of this proposal is to modernize our operations and enable us to run our parts distribution centers more efficiently, while preserving those jobs. In addition, it would protect our rights to consolidate or sell other underused real estate and facilities. — Paula Gardner
Unifor eyes Ford strike in Canada; UAW to amp up?
The United Auto Workers strike against the Big Three legacy U.S. automakers continues Monday with an international twist: Ford Motor Co. could face a strike tonight by Unifor, which represents Canadian autoworkers.
The situation is approaching the worst-case scenario offered by industry experts over the course of this year, as many warned that UAW talks would coincide with Canadian talks.
Unifor, which represents 330,000 workers in Canada, issued a letter on Friday as a show of support for the UAW.
“Our unions have a long and historic relationship as the two largest unions representing autoworkers in North America,” it said. “Just like you, we know what it means to have some of the world’s most powerful corporations as our employer.”
Now Unifor also is warning that it could strike three Canadian Ford plants as early as Monday night, according to a report from CNN. The Dearborn-based automaker operates two engine factories in Windsor, across the Detroit River from Detroit, with a combined 1,700 workers.
The other Canadian Ford factory is an assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario, where 3,400 hourly workers produce the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus. Production is shifting to EVs and EV batteries in 2024, and Ford recently made a $1.8 billion (Canadian) investment to retool.
A 30-day strike affecting both the UAW and Unifor could trim North American production about 500,000 vehicles from their projected sales in 2023, a number that could climb to 1.8 million if a strike stretches to 100 days, according to projections from GlobalData. — Paula Gardner
Fain warns strike could widen
Shawn Fain, president of the United Auto Workers, said Sunday morning that the union may increase its number of strike targets.
“If we don’t get better offers … we’re going to amp this thing up even more,” Fain said during an interview with CBS News on “Face the Nation.”
The UAW launched what it calls a stand-up strike early Friday morning, targeting three factories, including Ford’s Michigan Assembly in Wayne, where the popular Ranger trucks and Bronco SUVs are made. Other factories affected are the Stellantis Jeep complex in Toledo, and a General Motors commercial truck facility in Wentzville, Missouri, near St. Louis.
About 8 percent of the UAW’s 150,000 members are affected by the strike, which was designed to affect all of the Big Three legacy automakers.
“We’re prepared to do whatever we have to do,” Fain said.
Democratic President Joe Biden and former Republican President Donald Trump also have weighed in on the strike in recent days, Biden supporting the union and Trump criticizing it. The situation prompted a question to Fain about the UAW’s 2024 endorsement. Biden says he a pro-union president, but the UAW hasn’t officially backed him in the next election.
“Our endorsements are going to be earned,” Fain said. “Who the president is now, who the former president was … isn’t going to win this fight.
“This fight is all about one thing. It's about workers winning their fair share of economic justice.” — Paula Gardner
Stellantis reveals UAW contract offer
Stellantis released details of its proposal to the UAW on Saturday, saying the union has misrepresented what the Dutch automaker is offering.
“We believe it is imperative to set the record straight and provide the facts of Stellantis’ highly competitive offer, presented on Sept. 14,” the company said in a statement.
Stellantis — owner of the former Fiat-Chrysler and whose North American headquarters is in Auburn Hills, Michigan — is among the Big Three legacy automakers affected by the UAW strike by about 150,000 workers. Its Toledo Jeep complex was one of the first three factories targeted by the walkout that started Friday.
The statement came as the UAW and automakers were expected to resume bargaining on Saturday.
“Stellantis and the UAW have entered a critical phase of negotiations,” according to the statement. “Decisions made during this process will either enable our workers and our Company to thrive or will take us backward and endanger the long-term competitiveness of our company, negatively impacting our workers and our communities.”
Included in the offer:
- 21 percent wage Increase, including an immediate 10 percent. Additionally, we proposed increasing wages for all our Supplemental Employees with a new starting wage rate of $20 per hour – a $4.22 per hour, or 26.7%, increase.
- Four year progression to the top of the wage tier, down from eight.
- Inflation protection and retirement improvements, though the company did not offer details.
— Paula Gardner
Sanders decries 'corporate greed' at UAW rally
A red sea surged through downtown Detroit on Friday as hundreds of scarlet-clad autoworkers capped the first day of striking with a lively rally featuring Michigan leaders and labor champion U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Union members from across the country gathered outside the UAW-Ford Joint Trusts Center on Jefferson Avenue, just a few steps from the Detroit North American International Auto Show. UAW President Shawn Fain, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and others called for workers to be treated with respect and dignity, while Sanders forcefully denounced “corporate greed.” Fain said the UAW expects to go back to the bargaining table this weekend.
“Over the last 50 years, there’s been a massive redistribution of wealth, except it’s gone in the wrong direction - instead of going from the top to the bottom, it’s gone from the bottom up to the top,” Sanders said. “We’re going to reverse that trend. If the ruling class of this country wants a redistribution of wealth, we’re going to give it to them.”
— Malachi Barrett
UAW's Fain: 'We await their response'
United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said Friday afternoon that the Big Three squandered six weeks of bargaining time before the union called its historic strike hours earlier.
However, Fain disagrees with President Joe Biden’s statement that negotiations have broken down.
“Our national elected negotiators and UAW leadership are hard at work at the bargaining table,” he said.
The UAW will rally in Detroit on Friday with Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent. The event will be at the UAW-Ford National Programs Center at 151 W. Jefferson, with admittance at 4 p.m.
Then, on Saturday, “we expect to be at the bargaining table,” Fain said. “All three companies have received a comprehensive counteroffer from our union, and we await their response.” — Paula Gardner
Autoworkers ‘walking on eggshells’
Rodney Phillips, 35, is a Roseville resident who’s worked at the Sterling Heights Assembly as a production operator since 2018. He’s one of thousands of workers who are clocking in without a contract.
“That’s the scary part, we’ve never been in this situation so we don’t know how bad it can get as far as working without a contract,” Phillips said. “We just know we have to go do the job to perfection. It is kind of scary.”
You can read more about Phillips’ story here.
- Malachi Barrett
GM's Barra: UAW strike 'can get resolved very quickly
General Motors CEO Mary Barra says she is “extremely frustrated and disappointed” by the UAW strike called against the Big Three legacy automakers early Friday morning.
Barra told CNBC on Friday that her negotiating team has been working on a deal since July 18, fielding more than 1,000 union requests.
“I think the strike can get resolved very quickly,” Barra told CNBC.
“We don’t need to be on strike right now,” she added, detailing GM’s latest offer, which she described as historic. “I think we have a very generous offer on the table right now.”
The UAW launched what it calls a stand-up strike as the contract expired at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, starting with a strike at one facility of each of the Big Three. GM’s Wentzville Assembly factory, near St. Louis, is a target.
Barra said she hopes for a quick resolution to the strike. The last UAW strike against the Big Three came in 2019, when GM’s 48,000 union members walked out. That strike cost GM $3 billion.
“We need to get there fast,” Barra said of a settlement and the strike’s financial implications beyond the automaker. She noted that auto manufacturing jobs support an additional six jobs in the U.S. economy
She continued: “We have to get back to work so we don’t lose ground.” — Paula Gardner
Biden says UAW workers deserve record contracts
Democratic President Joe Biden addressed the UAW strike against the Big Three legacy automakers shortly after noon Friday by making a series of pro-union statements.
The automakers are posting record profits, Biden said, which should mean record contracts for the UAW.
“I understand workers' frustration,” he said. “Over generations, auto workers sacrificed so much to keep the industry alive and strong, especially the economic crisis and the pandemic. Workers deserve a fair share of the benefits they helped create.”
Union gains, Biden said, expand the overall economy by raising wages, income, home ownership and retirement savings, “all of which strengthen our economy for all workers.”
U.S. Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su will travel to Detroit as negotiations continue, along with White House adviser Gene Sperling, who has been involved in the talks. Both will support both sides in the talks, Biden said.
Biden, who took no questions from assembled White House media, said an eventual contract also should allow the Big Three companies to continue to lead the economy and in automotive innovation.
But he returned to the nearly 150,000 workers of Ford, GM and Stellantis who are now either working without a contract, or in the case of three factories in the U.S., on strike.
“The bottom line is that auto workers helped create America's middle class,” Biden said. “They deserve a contract that sustains them in the middle class.” — Paula Gardner
Dems rally around UAW; Biden to address strike
WAYNE — U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, both Democrats from Michigan, talked to striking Ford workers on Friday morning in front of the main gate of the Michigan Assembly factory.
“We all hoped that they would come together and have an agreement,” Peters said, as he held a “UAW on strike” placard and waved it at passing vehicles. “No one wants to have a strike. But sometimes that's what is necessary.”
The senators’ presence amplified the support coming from many of the state’s Democrats in federal office. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, is expected to speak on the issue today.
Both senators focused on the workers who picketed at all of the gates to the factory along Michigan Avenue.
“The important thing is to make sure that there is an agreement that supports the work of the people who get the job done here,” Stabenow said.
Reaching an agreement also has implications for workers outside of the union, Peters said.
“It's important for folks to realize, too, that it's not just the UAW, … that their fair wages and benefits help all Americans as well as help the American middle class,” he said.
At the state level, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a union supporter who also celebrated auto company expansions in the state, is staying in close contact with both sides of the negotiations, her spokesperson told Bridge late Friday morning.
“The strength and vitality of Michigan’s economy depends in equal parts on our skilled and dedicated labor force, as well as the Big Three Automakers whose industry has long defined our state economy,” Whitmer’s spokesperson Stacey LaRouche said.
“We’re hopeful all parties can come together during these negotiations to continue building on the momentum Michigan has seen (with over 36,000 auto jobs added in the last four years).
— Paula Gardner
Workers call tiered pay system ‘unfair’
Workers on the picket line outside the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne Friday morning said it was time for the automakers to share their profits.
We’ve been under long contracts for years now and we deserve more,” said Jeff Wilson, 45, of Livonia, a utility worker at the Michigan Assembly Plant. “We’ve given back concessions and haven’t gotten any back.”
Alexus Hill, 30, of Detroit, who has worked at the Ford plant for six years, said the tier system of pay common at the auto plants is unfair. “Most of the assembly workers do the same type of work as the legacy workers, but sometimes work longer hours, Hill said. “I feel like we all deserve to have the same amount of pay.
“I know that they’re not going to try to give us what we deserve so we need to get out here and strike and show them that we’re serious.”
Alantra Bronner, 29, Detroit, has been a production worker at the Wayne plant for three years. Before that, she worked at a plant where, because of the pay tier system, her pay would have maxed out at $22.
“A lot of people I know didn’t leave that tier 2 plant,” Bronner said, “so I’m fighting for them because I know how it feels because I was just there.”
- Janelle D. James
‘It’s time for them to give back’
WAYNE — Blaring horns from truck after truck drowned out the cheering thanks from dozens of United Auto Workers picketers Friday morning, hours after the union called its first strike in four years against the Big Three legacy auto companies.
The workers waved signs and raised fists in front of Ford Motor Co.’s Michigan Assembly plant, a decades-old complex about 12 miles west of Dearborn that got a new life in recent years when the automaker set up popular Bronco and Ranger pickup production.
The plant is the only one in Michigan among three chosen as the first strike targets by the auto union. It’s also the only one from Ford, as the union set up a historic three-company strike, also affecting a GM factory near St. Louis and the Toledo Jeep complex run by Stellantis.
Most of the workers in Wayne said they were surprised Thursday night to learn they’d be starting the next day on a picket line. Each said it’s time for Ford to not just raise their pay, but eliminate the two-tier system and recognize their contributions to the company’s profitability.
“When I came in, it was a great job,” said Angela Alexander, 49, of Canton. “It still is a great job. Ford gave me a great life.
“But it’s time for them to give back what they took years ago when we made concessions to keep everything afloat.”
Many of the workers on the picket line were from the striking plant, with others coming from Woodhaven, UAW offices and other sites to show solidarity. They stood in groups ranging from a handful to a couple dozen at gates along the south side US-12, an eight-lane divided highway, reveling in the support from vehicle after vehicle.
Across the road, dozens more stood in line outside Local 900 offices, where the doors opened at 9 a.m. for workers to register for picketing shifts and strike pay, learning more about what it means to be on strike. The food bank, some workers said, already was stocked.
Alexander said she’s concerned about the erosion of her wages amid inflation, and she also sees younger coworkers who came in under the two-tier system — and earning under $20 per hour to start — struggling to reach the middle-class life that she was able to attain when she started at Ford.
“As soon as I got up to full pay, I bought a house by myself in my 20s,” she said. “And I was so proud of that. With this pay now, I couldn’t afford a house by myself.” — Paula Gardner
Dems lend support as strike begins at 3 factories
Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, a Democrat, says he stands with the striking workers and plans to join them on the picket line on Friday.
“UAW members made huge sacrifices to help save the auto industry in 2008 and now that the Big Three are making historic profits, the workers deserve to get their fair share of the success,” he said. “UAW workers are making the best cars in the world in Michigan and it’s critical they continue to be the future of the industry, especially as we transition to electric vehicles.”
Other Democrats also plan to join the pickets, including U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who represents mid-Michigan and the Lansing area.
“For the last two years, we’ve passed bills to incentivize American manufacturing and bring supply chains home from places like China,” she said. “But the companies that benefit from these policies need to do right by the workers who make their success possible.”
The UAW plans a rally at 4 p.m. Friday at the UAW-Ford Joint Trust Building in Detroit, near the site of the Detroit Auto Show, which opens to the public on Saturday. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, is a headliner along with UAW President Shawn Fain. — Paula Gardner
Walkouts start in Wayne, Toledo and Wentzville
The United Auto Workers contract negotiations did not yield an agreement by the deadline of 11:59 p.m. Thursday, sending about 150,000 members into what union leaders are calling a “stand up strike” of rotating targets.
Within moments, the union initiated walkouts at three major U.S. factories.
For the first time, the UAW is striking each of the Big Three automakers — General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis, which now owns the former Fiat-Chrysler.
The three factories — including one in Michigan — were told to be ready to strike two hours earlier when UAW President Shawn Fain said negotiations with the Big Three were still in progress.
“This is our defining moment,” Fain said during a Facebook live event that attracted over 100,000 viewers.
Workers at the three initial strike locations then started to mobilize, wearing red shirts and carrying signs.
Among them were paint and final assembly employees at Ford’s Michigan Assembly factory in Wayne,where 3,300 workers build popular Broncos and Rangers. Video from the scene showed workers gathered near entry gates just before midnight, waving signs that read “Michigan is a Union Town,” “United for a Strong Contract” and “End All Tiers.”
UAW members and supporters are rallying outside of the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant ready to walk the picket line with workers as we approach the final minutes before contracts expire at the Big Three! #StandUpUAW #SolidaritySeason pic.twitter.com/qErtmqLr0Q— UAW (@UAW) September 15, 2023
The other two initial strike targets are Toledo Assembly, where Stellantis builds Jeeps, and General Motors Wentzville Assembly, a truck factory near St. Louis, Missouri.
Reaction from Stellantis was immediate.
“We are extremely disappointed by the UAW leadership's refusal to engage in a responsible manner to reach a fair agreement in the best interest of our employees, their families and our customers,” according to a statement issued at 12:01 a.m. “We immediately put the company in contingency mode and will take all the appropriate structural decisions to protect our North American operations and the company.”
🎶We are the union, the mighty mighty union🎶— Left_Voice (@left_voice) September 15, 2023
This is what the gates of the Ford assembly plant looks like in Wayne, Michigan. For the first time ever, Big 3 auto workers are on strike at the same time. #StandUpUAW #UAWStrike pic.twitter.com/S3CoTSwvIf
Michigan business leaders also weighed in, saying that the strike’s impact goes beyond the automotive industry.
“It disproportionately impacts Michigan residents, especially those in the middle class,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Every (Big Three) auto job impacts between seven to 10 other jobs, which are all at risk as the strike shuts down the industry.
“As Michigan has the highest concentration of auto-related jobs, our state will take the lion’s share of the negative economic impact.” — Paula Gardner
Thursday, Sept. 14
Michigan Ford factory 1 of 3 in U.S. set to strike
Three factories in the U.S. were told to be ready to strike at 11:59 p.m. Thursday as United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said negotiations with the Big Three are coming down to the wire.
“All options remain on the table,” Fain said during a Facebook live event starting shortly after 10 p.m.
The three factories preparing to strike:
Ford's Michigan Assembly in Wayne, about 12 miles west of the automaker’s Dearborn headquarters. It employs about 3,300 and builds the Bronco and Ranger pickup.
General Motors Wentzville Assembly, about 40 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri, which builds Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize trucks and Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size vans. It employs 4,114.
Stellantis Toledo Assembly, a 3.6 million square foot factory that builds Jeeps. It employs 4,174 hourly workers.
All other workers are not on strike until called to do so, Fain said. If the deadline passes without a deal, the workers will be working without a contract and will not be considered at-will employees, he said. Information on how that contractless status works can be found on the UAW website.
Striking workers will be organized into so-called “stand-up strikes,” with walkouts expected to rotate among facilities to keep companies guessing the targets and impact.
“No matter what, all of us need to keep organizing,” Fain told UAW members, about 150,000 of which work in Big Three factories across the country. “We must show companies you are ready to join the stand-up strike at a moment’s notice.”
Fain said that if tonight’s negotiations fail and lead to a strike, he’ll be at Ford’s Michigan Assembly at midnight.
“This is our defining moment,” Fain said. — Paula Gardner
Thursday, Sept. 14
Big Three data on performance, profits
The United Auto Workers and Big Three automakers are heading toward today's contract expiration at 11:59 p.m.
At 10 p.m., UAW President Shawn Fain is expected to release where the union's "stand-up" strike will be launched against Ford, GM and Stellantis, if a strike is the next step. This new strike format would target any and all of the auto factories, but at staggered times to "keep companies guessing."
Here are some key financial and performance data on the Big Three legacy automakers, from a Bridge article earlier this week.
Profitability in the first half of 2023:
Ford: $3.7 billion
Highlights: That gain is up from a loss of $2.4 billion in the first half of 2022, when the automaker recorded a loss on its investment in electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian. Ford revenue reached $86 million, up 16 percent from the first half of 2022.
GM: $4.9 billion
Highlights: Revenue reached $84.7 billion, up 18 percent.
Stellantis: $12.1 billion
Highlights: North America is the company’s largest segment, accounting for $8.1 billion of the first half’s net income, an 8 percent increase. Globally, first-half profits were up 37 percent in the first half and set a company record for revenue at $109 billion. Profitability was credited to higher shipments. Global inventory was at 1.37 million vehicles, up from 845,000 a year ago.
Full-year outlook, according to each company’s public filings:
Ford: Full-year adjusted earnings projections were raised in June to $11 billion to $12 billion, up from $9 billion to $11 billion.
GM: Full-year adjusted earnings were raised to $12 billion to $14 billion, up $1 billion from the end of the first quarter.
Stellantis: The company in July forecast a double-digit adjusted operating income along with positive cash flow.
CEO to worker pay ratio compensation:
Ford: The average employee earned $74,691, while CEO Jim Farley’s compensation was $20,996,146. The ratio of CEO pay to all employees was 281 to 1.
GM: The average employee earned $80,034, while CEO Mary Barra’s compensation was $28,979,570. The ratio of CEO pay to all employees was 362 to 1.
Stellantis: The average employee earned $67,887, while CEO Carlos Tavares’ total compensation was $24.8 million. The ratio of CEO pay to all employees was 365 to 1.
Overall sales in first half of 2023
Ford: Ranked 3rd, ahead of No. 4 Hyundai/Kia. Sold just under 1 million light vehicles, for a 9.9 percent increase over 2022.
GM: Ranked 1st, ahead of Toyota. Sold 1.28 million light vehicles, an 18 percent increase.
Stellantis: Ranked 5th. Sold 806,810 light vehicles, a decrease of 1.3 percent.
EV sales in first half of 2023
Ford: 25,709 (up 10 percent); about 2.7 percent of its sales, according to Inside EVs
GM: 36,322 (up 373%) and about 2.8 percent share of its sales
Stellantis: Global sales up 24 percent to 169,000 vehicles.. The brand is the third largest EV maker in Europe.
U.S. Market share totaled 40.7 percent at year-end 2022:
Ford: 13.8 percent
GM: 17.1 percent
— Paula Gardner
Thursday, Sept. 14
Dingell says strike chance '50-50'
The long-time union supporter said she was up all night and has been talking to people all day, in hopes of the United Auto Workers and Big Three legacy automakers reaching a resolution.
“This is probably the most serious negotiation I’ve seen,” Dingell said. “The industry is at the crossroads of the future.”
Dingell noted that the industry is trying to get the EV transition right, but added that “we have to make sure that this transition is protecting the worker at the same time.”
Workers gave up their cost of living adjustments in 2008 and 2009, and the tiered wage system is unfair to people working the factories, she said.
That has to be addressed, Dingell said, along with who makes EV batteries in the factories the automakers are establishing with Asian partners.
“I want them to be union workers and good-paying jobs,” Dingell said.
She added: “I’m not going to let those vehicles be built in China.” — Paula Gardner
Thursday, Sept. 14
Cost of strike: $5.6B for 10 days
The potential price tag of a 10-day strike would be $5.6 billion in national economic loss, according to estimates released in August from Anderson Economic Group of East Lansing.
The losses include just under $1 billion for the Big Three legacy auto manufacturers, each of which is expected to be targeted by walkouts if a contract isn’t signed by 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
Those figures are now widely circulated as the deadline draws closer.
Patrick Anderson, CEO of the group that published the forecast, told Bridge recently that Michigan is fortunate to remain the headquarters of the North American automobile industry.
Calls over the years to diversify Michigan’s economy by turning away from auto manufacturing doesn’t take into account that the state has benefited from being the home of General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, owner of the former Fiat-Chrysler, as well as numerous suppliers.
“The auto industry is one of the most valuable high tech and profitable highway generating industries in the entire world,” he said. “And most countries would give a lot of money to have what we have in the state of Michigan and we should nurture it and try to make it grow.”
The downside, he said, is that Michigan also is vulnerable to a labor disruption, particularly a UAW strike. That risk comes along with overall economic downturns that can suppress auto sales. The 2019 strike against General Motors led to what he called a “one-state recession.”
“If you want the benefits of being the home of the auto industry, you have to live with the risks. And that's what we're learning in September 2023 once again.” — Paula Gardner
Thursday, Sept. 14
Teamsters won't deliver cars during a strike
Truck drivers who deliver vehicles for Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis-owned Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, Dodge and Fiat said they won’t cross UAW picket lines if the auto union goes on strike.
“The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, including our members in the carhaul industry, stand in solidarity with the United Auto Workers to get the best contract possible from America’s biggest automakers,” said general president Sean M. O’Brien, in a statement.
“All UAW members deserve respect at work and dignity in retirement,” O’Brien said. “They deserve strong wages in a new contract that rewards them for everything they do for the Big Three and to keep this country moving.”
Teamsters also work in warehouses, operate and repair ferries and build ships. Last month, the union negotiated a five-year contract for more than 340,000 UPS workers to raise wages for full-time and part-time workers.
"We are 100% supportive of UAW workers and Shawn Fain's positions," said Kevin Moore, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 299, in Detroit. "Our Teamsters will not cross strike lines." — Janelle D. James
Thursday, Sept. 14
GM CEO weighs in
With fewer than 10 hours until the strike deadline, General Motors CEO Mary Barra is now addressing the company’s manufacturing workers through an online letter with the latest offer details.
The Detroit-based automaker is now offering a 20-percent wage boost over four years, with 10 percent in the first year. That compares to the UAW request of 46 percent.
“We continue to bargain in good faith,” Barra said, noting the urgency and adding, “I want to make sure you are completely informed. “
The deal also offers a 25-percent increase to the retiree health plan and better work-life balance, including two weeks of parental leave.
The automaker calls the proposal “a record offer,” and one that Barra said would allow the company to “sustain all of us for decades to come.”
Remember, Barra wrote, “we had a strike in 2019 and nobody won.” — Paula Gardner
Thursday, Sept. 14
Here are the UAW demands
A potential strike is growing closer to the 11:59 p.m. deadline for the United Auto Workers to reach a four-year agreement with the Big Three automakers: Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis, parent company of former Fiat-Chrysler.
“It's time to decide what kind of world we want to live in and time to decide what we’re willing to do to get it,” said UAW National President Shawn Fain on Wednesday during a Facebook Live event.
- 40 percent wage increase of the next four years, 46 percent when compounded
- Cost-of-living increases
- 32-hour work week with 40-hour pay
- A cap on the number of temporary workers, and convert them to full-time seniority employment after 90 days
- More paid time off and additional holidays
- Job security through what is called the Working Family Protection Program, which includes the right to strike over plant closures
- Significantly increase retiree pay — Janelle D. James
Thursday, Sept. 14
GM says it submitted another offer this morning
General Motors submitted another offer this morning, according to a Tweet from Detroit News reporter Kalea Hall. The automaker said it did so "with the goal of avoiding a work disruption."
— Paula Gardner
Thursday, Sept. 14
Big Three respond after UAW claims
The Big Three legacy automakers — General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Stellanis, now owner of Chrysler — each issued statements on Wednesday following the strike update presented by United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain.
Fain said a strike could still be avoided, but he called it likely — and said all three companies would be affected.
Tobin Williams, senior vice president of Stellantis North America human resources, said the company presented a third offer to the UAW on Wednesday. Details were not available publicly from the company.
“Since Monday, we have continued to meet with the UAW subcommittees to resolve outstanding issues, proof that we can work together to find solutions on tough subjects,” Williams wrote.
He continued: “Our focus remains on bargaining in good faith to have a tentative agreement on the table before (Thursday’s 11:59 p.m.) deadline. The future for our represented employees and their families deserves nothing less.”
General Motors leadership also said the company presented new offers.
“We have made progress in key areas that we believe are most important to you,” the address to the company’s manufacturing workers said.
Ford’s statement was more strained, saying the company had put forth four offers with no “genuine counteroffer.”
“If there is a strike, it’s not because Ford didn’t make a great offer,” the company said. — Paula Gardner
Thursday, Sept. 14
Ford's ex-CEO warns both sides
Former Ford CEO Mark Fields warned in a CNN interview on Wednesday that the automakers could face a precarious financial situation if they yield to all of the UAW demands.
Fields, who ran the Dearborn-based company from 2014-2017, noted that recent profits signal healthy balance sheets for Ford, GM and Stellantis. However, they reached that point after the Great Recession, when GM and the former Chrysler, now owned by Stellantis, filed for bankruptcy. All three companies had struggled under the weight of legacy costs.
“The automakers can’t plead poverty,” Fields told CNN. “They will need to find a creative way to package a fair contract that rewards workers but do it in a way that doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.”
If the UAW wins all of its demands, including restored pensions, Fields said automakers could weigh their labor costs and turn to foreign workers, shedding U.S. jobs.
“The automakers are going to be very rational about this. If this is what my cost per unit is here in the US — including labor — and it’s uncompetitive, I’m going to have to move it to where it’s more competitive, like Mexico,” said Fields. — Paula Gardner
Wednesday, Sept. 13
New strike style would impact all 3 automakers
The United Auto Workers is preparing what it calls a targeted, “stand-up strike” to “hit all three” major U.S. automakers after contracts expire at midnight Thursday.
“We are preparing to strike these companies in a way they’ve never seen before,” UAW National President Shawn Fain said Wednesday during a Facebook Live address that attracted nearly 30,000 viewers.
In an effort to create confusion, union locals will be called to strike with little notice, and could be asked to go back to work to keep the automakers engaged in contract negotiations, Fain said.
Fain said he plans to announce which union locals will strike at 10 p.m. Thursday. A rally is planned at 4 p.m. Friday at the UAW-Ford National Programs Center in Detroit.
“This is our defining moment, and it’s time to go to work,” he said.
Negotiations between the UAW and the Big Three automakers have both sides “very far apart” despite some progress, said Fain, adding a complete general walkout is unlikely against Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis, the parent company of the former Fiat-Chrysler.
The union is seeking a 40 percent pay increase over the next four-year deal, restored pensions, the end of a two-tier wage system and job security from plant closures.
During the presentation, Fain said that Stellantis, a Dutch company with its American headquarters in Auburn Hills, wants the right to close and sell 18 facilities.
Before rolling out the strike plan, Fain showed his grandmother’s Bible. He criticized “billionaire” automakers, and called on members to shed their fears to take an act of faith with the UAW.
“We have a mission and a calling,” Fain said. “We fight not just for the good of our union and our members and our families. We fight for the entire working class and the poor.” — Paula Gardner
Wednesday, Sept. 13
Biden monitoring talks
White House President Joe Biden called Shawn Fain, president of the United Auto Workers, and executives of the Big Three on Labor Day, "encouraging them to provide more forward-leaning offers and stay at the table," Council of Economic Advisers Chair Jared Bernstein said Wednesday.
Speaking at a White House briefing, Bernstein said Biden is monitoring the talks closely.
"Not only has he always fought for policies to ensure that workers get a fair deal, but he's explicitly talked about the electric vehicle future being made in America by American workers promoting strong and good paying union jobs."
Earlier Wednesday, former President Donald Trump wrote on social media that he wants the UAW "to make the complete and total repeal of Joe Biden’s insane Electric Vehicle mandate their top, non-negotiable demand in any strike.
"If that disastrous Biden policy is allowed to stand, the U.S. auto industry will cease to exist, and all your jobs will be sent to China," wrote the Republican former president who is running again for the top office. "That’s why there’s no such thing as a 'fair transition' to all electric cars. For the American Autoworker, that’s a transition to Hell. Nothing is more important than terminating this job-crushing mandate."
U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, who was a chief of staff for former President Barack Obama's auto bailout team in 2009, also issued a statement on Wednesday, saying unions "are the middle class" and need a fair contract.
"I saw what UAW members sacrificed to keep the Big Three in business," said Stevens, a Birmingham Democrat.
"Automakers recovered to make record profits, but workers’ wages are still stagnant. That’s not right. To ensure a just transition to the green economy and American competitiveness for generations to come, it is critical workers get dealt in as the electric vehicle market continues to grow. Workers deserve their fair share."
Wednesday, Sept. 13
Gilchrist expresses hope
Two Michigan officials at the North American Auto Show say they’re confident in the progress of negotiations before contracts expire at midnight Thursday.
“The deadline hasn’t come,” Lt. Garlin Gilchrist told Bridge Michigan after speaking on a panel about state recreation. “So there’s an opportunity for a deal.”
Doing so is in the best interest of the state, he added, since auto manufacturing is so vital to Michigan’s economy.
“We want to make sure that (a deal) is fair for the workers who work in the company as well as the people who run them,” Gilchrist said.
Quentin Messer Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., told Bridge “the good news is that the UAW and Big Three are working hard.”
Messer said the strike threat hasn’t damaged Michigan’s potential to attract manufacturing companies, pointing to visitor turnout and exhibitors at the auto show. Wednesday is media day and also open to industry insiders, among others.
“Michigan is the center of mobility globally,” Messer said. “That's not going to change.” — Paula Gardner
Wednesday, Sept. 13
Targeted strike possible?
Industry experts at the North American Internation Auto Show are backing published reports indicating the United Auto Workers may target a handful of factories with a strike, rather than a company-wide walkout.
“It seems like they’re going to go after strategic part plants for each of the (Big) Three, which have the ability, with a very limited number of UAW workers walking out, to affect the most assembly plants without a complete walkout,” Jeff Schuster, president of Troy-based Global Vehicle Forecasts at LMC Automotive, told Bridge Michigan on Wednesday.
A complete walkout of 150,000 UAW members would deplete the union’strike pay fund after about 11 weeks, Schuster said. Striking workers would receive $500 per week, and the fund is valued at $825 million.
If striking a few parts plants could affect 70 percent to 80 percent of assembly, “the strike could last longer,” Schuster said.
“That seems to be the route they’re heading to,” he said of the UAW. “But it’s a wildcard.” — Paula Gardner
Wednesday, Sept. 13
What to know about Shawn Fain
Fain uses the live videos to communicate with members and explain the UAW’s position and reactions. He also takes questions from viewers.
Here are things to know about Fain, 54, as contract talks move closer to the deadline:
An electrician by training, Fain was elected in March by just under 500 votes during a run-off election against incumbent Ray Curry. The election was the first popular vote for union president.
This is Fain’s first national leadership role. He ran on a reform platform, promising changes to the UAW after scandals. His slogan was: “No concessions, no corruption, no tiers,” referring to the two-tier hiring and pay in Big Three factories since the Great Recession.
Fain also takes an aggressive approach with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. In recent weeks, on Facebook Live, he’s thrown offers in a trash can in videos and promised a strike if demands aren’t met. He also criticizes automaker profits in comparison to the offers made thus far.
“It's not [that] we'll wreck the economy. We'll wreck their economy. The economy that only works for the billionaire class and not the working class,” Fain told CNN early this week.
First an electrician in a Stellantis factory in Kokomo, Indiana — which was chosen in May 2022 for a new EV battery plant — Fain later took on negotiating roles during Chrysler’s bankruptcy and became a UAW staff member in 2012. — Paula Gardner
Tuesday, Sept. 12
Stalemate comes amid record profits
The Big Three automakers and United Auto Workers continue to say they’re at a stalemate over contract negotiations, with each heading toward a potential showdown this week.
Contracts with about 150,000 hourly workers expire at midnight Thursday (Sept. 14) at Michigan-based Ford Motor Co. and General Motors, as well as Stellantis, the Dutch parent company of the former Fiat-Chrysler whose North American headquarters is in Auburn Hills.
Each of the auto companies has publicly responded to the UAW’s demands that include higher pay, the end of a two-tiered wage system for newer workers, restored pension benefits and job security amid factory reconfiguration and closures.
UAW President Shawn Fain told CNN there has been progress, but it “is still slow.”
Fain said his members are ready to strike because record industry profits haven’t been shared fairly with workers. The UAW seeks a 32-hour workweek with 40 hours pay and a 46 percent bump in compensation over the next four-year agreement.
“We are not going to stand by and allow you to drag out negotiations like you have in the past,” Fain said last week, addressing auto companies during a Facebook video. — Paula Gardner
Tuesday, Sept. 12
What a strike would cost Michigan
By any measure, Michigan likely would be hit harder than any other state if the United Auto Workers goes on strike at midnight Thursday.
Michigan has the highest percentage of workers in manufacturing jobs, it is No. 1 in automotive jobs and is home to dozens of factories that make parts and build vehicles.
Here are the numbers that shape the impact:
600,000: That’s how many people in Michigan work in manufacturing. At 18.6 percent of the state workforce, that’s the highest rate in the nation and nearly double the 10.1 percent rate nationwide.
Nearly 300,000: Workers are connected to making vehicles — either for the Big Three directly or at the hundreds of shops, plants and other providers of automotive products.
12: Total vehicle assembly plants: Five GM plants (Detroit-Hamtramck, Flint, Lansing/Delta Township, Lansing/ Grand River, Lake Orion), four for Stellantis (two in Detroit, one each in Sterling Heights and Warren) and three Ford plants: in Dearborn, Flat Rock and Wayne.
$20.7 billion: Profits of Big Three in first half of 2023 ($12.1 billion, Stellantis; $4.9 billion, GM; $3.7 billion, Ford)
2019: Last UAW strike, which was a six-week walkout by 48,000 members General Motors and idled 34 plants nationwide.
$4.2 billion: Estimated economic impact of that strike, which Michigan economist Patrick Anderson says launched the state into a one-quarter recession.
$5.6 billion: Estimated economic impact of a 10-day UAW strike against all three automakers, including $859 million in lost wages and $989 million in car manufacturer losses, according to Anderson. — Mike Wilkinson
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