The United Auto Workers union on Friday expanded its strike of the Detroit automakers to 38 General Motors Co. and Stellantis NV parts distribution centers across the country, with workers leaving the facilities at noon and setting up picket lines.
Some 5,600 workers at those facilities, which span 20 states, walked off the job, joining about 12,700 other Detroit Three workers who remain on strike at three assembly plants run by GM, Stellantis and Ford Motor Co.
The move, which spares Ford from an expansion of the strike, starts the next phase of the UAW's "stand up" strike strategy, where the union announces new locations just hours before the strike begins in an attempt to keep the Detroit Three automakers on their toes.
The union last week struck three plants — Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, GM's Wentzville Assembly in Missouri and Stellantis' Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio — in the first concurrent strike against all three in history.
UAW President Shawn Fain had been hinting at the additional plants for a few days, posting on X (formerly Twitter) various movie clips of film characters saying "tick tock" over and over.
“This will impact these two companies’ repairs operations," Fain said during a Facebook Live event Friday morning announcing the expanded strike. "And our message to the consumer is simple: the way to fix the frustrating customer experience is for the companies to end price gouging. Invest these record profits into stable jobs and sustainable wages and benefits. It’s that simple," Fain said of the expansion to parts distribution facilities at GM and Stellantis.
"This expansion will also take our fight nationwide. We will be everywhere, from California to Massachusetts, from Oregon to Florida," he added. "And we will keep going, keep organizing, and keep expanding the Stand-Up Strike as necessary. Across the country, people are gonna know that the UAW is ready to stand up for our communities, and ready to stand up against corporate greed.”
In excluding Ford from the strike at parts centers, the UAW cited progress at the bargaining table with the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker this week.
"We’re not there yet, but I want you to see the direction that Ford is going and what we think that means for our contract fight," Fain said, noting proposed contract improvements the union has gotten from Ford. Those include the previously announced move to bring workers at Ford's Rawsonville Components Plant and Sterling Axle Plant in Michigan onto the same wage scale as assembly plants workers; the restoration of the cost-of-living allowance that was suspended in 2009; and, for the first time, the right to strike over plant closures over the course of the contract.
"Ford is working diligently with the UAW to reach a deal that rewards our workforce and enables Ford to invest in a vibrant and growing future," the company said in a statement sent by spokesperson Dan Barbossa. "Although we are making progress in some areas, we still have significant gaps to close on the key economic issues. In the end, the issues are interconnected and must work within an overall agreement that supports our mutual success."
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