The auto worker strike is expanding by 7,000 workers at Ford and General Motors plants in Chicago and Lansing, Michigan, as the negotiations between the United Auto Workers and General Motors, Ford and Stellantis stretch on, UAW president Shawn Fain announced in a Facebook live Friday morning.
The expansion this week brings the total number of strikers to more than 25,000 workers across the country. Fain said in the video that the strike will not expand to automaker Stellantis this week, because that company made “significant progress” on terms of the contract such as cost-of-living allowances. He said other efforts have been going “night and day,” to negotiate contracts that include 36% wage increases over four years. GM has proposed a 20% increase.
“To be clear, negotiations haven’t broken down,” Fain said. “We’re still talking to all three companies. And I’m still very hopeful that we can reach a deal that reflects the incredible sacrifices and contributions our members have made in the last decade.”
The strike has been slowly expanding since Sept. 15 as part of a tactic to increase pressure on automakers to reach a contract. Assembly plants in Wentzville, Missouri; Toledo, Ohio; and in Wayne, Michigan, were the first to pick up picket signs. The more than 5,000 workers at Arlington’s GM plant are continuing to work under an expired contract and have been asked to refuse voluntary overtime.
Last week, the strike expanded to parts distribution centers, including one about 20 miles from Fort Worth.
In a statement to employees Sept. 28, Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability, said striking does more harm than good.
“The number of people negatively impacted by these strikes is growing and includes our customers who buy and love the products we build,” Johnson wrote. “For our part, we continue to stand ready and willing to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that benefits you and doesn’t let the nonunion manufacturers win.”
Anderson Economic Group, a Michigan-based economic consulting firm, estimated that the first week of the strike resulted in $1.6 billion in economic losses. Economists told the Fort Worth Report that consumers won’t feel the immediate effects of the strike, but will the longer it goes on.
Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com and follow on Twitter @sbodine120.
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