GM says UAW's Wentzville strike could take down Fairfax Assembly plant next week

Kalea Hall, The Detroit News on

Published in Business News

The United Auto Workers' decision to strike General Motors Co.'s Wentzville Assembly plant in Missouri will cause a parts shortage at GM's Fairfax Assembly plant that could lead it to shut down next week, according to an employee notice that The Detroit News obtained Friday afternoon.

Wentzville provides stamped parts to the Fairfax, Kansas, plant where the Chevrolet Malibu sedan and Cadillac XT4 SUV is produced.

"Due to the strike’s impact on Wentzville operations, we anticipate running out of parts for Fairfax as soon as early next week," GM wrote in the employee communication. "The parts situation is fluid, and we are actively managing the situation."

The communication also noted that since the agreement between GM and the UAW is expired, "there are no provisions" for GM to provide supplemental pay to workers at Fairfax.

In a statement, GM confirmed the potential shutdown of Fairfax: “It is unfortunate that the UAW leadership’s decision to call a strike at Wentzville Assembly has already had a negative ripple effect, with GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas and its 2,000 team members expected to be idled as soon as early next week."

The company added: "We have said repeatedly that nobody wins in a strike, and that effects go well beyond our employees on the plant floor and negatively impact our customers, suppliers and the communities where we do business. What happened to our Fairfax team members is a clear and immediate demonstration of that fact."

On Thursday, UAW President Shawn Fain called on workers at three Detroit Three plants to go on strike to push the automakers on wages, the use of a tiered wage system and temporary employees and other demands.

Workers are now on strike at Ford Motor Co.'s Bronco plant in Wayne, Stellantis NV's Jeep Wrangler plant in Toledo and GM's Wentzville plant where full-size vans and midsize trucks are built.


The walkouts involving 12,700 workers mark the first time in the union's more than 80-year history that it has struck all three Detroit automakers at once.

Glenn Kage, the current legislative chair and former president of Local 2250 representing Wentzville workers, said the local is “honored” to be the first plant selected to participate in the strike.

“We're confident that we'll be able to fulfill the obligations of the international union by holding our lines,” he said.

The more than 4,000 employees at Wentzville make the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize trucks, as well as the GMC Savanna and Chevrolet Express full-size vans.

“Right now we know that these products are selling, we can’t build them fast enough,” Kage said. “So we know it’s a very marketable vehicle that we’re producing.”

Kage said the members don’t think the 20% wage increase offered by GM is “big enough, otherwise we would not be on strike.”

“Mary Barra was on CNN this morning, and she was on there for eight and a half minutes, and in the eight and a half minutes she was on that call with CNN, she made more money than one of her workers on the plant floor makes in a whole day,” Kage said. “We know that they have the money to pay us for a fair and equitable contract.”

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