UAW announces new strikes at GM and Ford plants, spares Stellantis citing 'momentum' in talks


DETROIT – The United Auto Workers union will expand strikes against General Motors and Ford Motor to two U.S. assembly plants at noon ET, UAW President Shawn Fain said Friday.

The additional strikes will target Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant in Illinois, which produces the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs, and GM’s Lansing Delta Township plant in mid-Michigan that produces the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse crossovers.

The plants are important ones for the companies, however not as profitable or crucial as facilities that produce the automakers’ pickup trucks.

Fain said Chrysler parent Stellantis was spared from additional strikes because of recent progress in negotiations with that company.

“Moments before this broadcast, Stellantis made significant progress on the 2009 cost-of-living allowance, the right not to cross a picket line, as well as the right to strike over product commitments and plant closures and outsourcing moratoriums,” said Fain, who was delayed nearly 30 minutes in making the online announcement. We are very excited by the momentum that Stellantis is gaining and we hope it will continue. About 25,200 employees, or roughly 17% of UAW members covered by expired contracts with Detroit automakers will be on strike as of noon. That means about 25,200 employees, or roughly 17% of UAW members covered by the expired contracts with the Detroit automakers, will be on strike as of noon.

“To restore the balance of power, we have to restore the strike,” Fain said Friday, citing several other UAW strikes aside from the Detroit automakers.

GM in a statement Friday said it had yet to receive a “comprehensive counteroffer” from union leadership to a contract proposal made last week.

“Calling more strikes is just for the headlines, not real progress. Gerald Johnson, GM’s global manufacturing head, stated that the number of people adversely affected by these strikes has grown, including our customers, who love and buy the products we make. We’re here to find an agreement to get us all back to work. That is our sole focus. Stellantis said in a press release that while negotiations have progressed, “gaps still remain.” The company stated that it was “committed” to continuing to work through these issues expeditiously to reach a fair, responsible agreement to get everyone back to working as soon as possible. Jim Farley, Ford CEO, said that the UAW was “holding the deal as hostage because of battery plants” and called the additional strike “grossly reckless.” He also criticized the union for its targeted strike strategy, saying he feels the actions were “premediated” and insinuating the union was never interested in reaching a deal before a Sept. 14 deadline.

Fain fired back at Farley, saying the CEO hasn’t been present at the bargaining table and that he’s “lying about the state of negotiations. The additional strikes follow a similar strike extension a week earlier. The UAW first initiated work stops on Sept. 15, at three assembly factories — one for each Detroit automaker. The union also targeted 38 other parts and distribution sites operated by GM Stellantis. At that time, the UAW spared Ford from expanded strikes, citing progress in those negotiations.

Members of the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) join striking United Auto Workers (UAW) at a rally in front of the Stellantis Mopar facility on September 26, 2023 in Ontario, California. Los Angeles Times Getty Images

Fain had previously stated that the union would increase work stoppages based on the progress of the contract negotiations. It’s calling the work stoppages “stand-up strikes,” a nod to historic “sit-down” strikes by the UAW in the 1930s. The UAW calls the work stops “stand-up” strikes, a reference to the historic “sit down” strikes of the UAW from the 1930s.