The United Autoworkers took a tactical swing at Stellantis and General Motors this morning, adding 38 parts distribution centers to its thus-far eight-day strike at three automotive plants. The expanded strike officially begins at noon today.
Wearing a camo-patterned shirt on Facebook Live this morning, UAW president Shawn Fain told viewers that adding the GM and Stellantis distribution centers across 20 states to the strike “will take our fight nationwide.”
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No new manufacturing plants were targeted. Fain added that the union is making "serious movement" in negotiations with Ford Motor Co. Workers at Ford's Rawsonville Components and Sterling Axle will be on the same pay scale as workers in assembly plants. Ford also has agreed to bring back its contracted cost of living adjustment (COLA) for UAW workers that was eliminated beginning with the 2009 UAW contracts.
"We do recognize that Ford is serious about reaching a deal," Fain said. "At GM and Stellantis, it's a different story." He singled out as sticking points no COLA increases in four years, as well as no movement on job security, profit sharing, and converting temporary workers to permanent workers quickly.
GM President Mark Reuss on Wednesday defended GM's latest offer to the UAW in a letter in the Detroit Free Press, saying a 20% wage increase "addresses, directly, what they've told us matters most: wage growth, job security and long-term stability."
In his speech on Friday, Fain said that Ford has agreed to convert all current temps to permanent workers and give temporary workers profit-sharing after 90 days of work.
"To be clear, we are not done at Ford," he said. "We still have serious issues to work through. But we want to recognize that Ford is serious about reaching a deal."
Michael Robinet, an automotive forecaster at S&P and executive director of its consulting services, said that components suppliers to the automotive OEMs can "breathe a sigh of short-term relief" at the latest strike developments, as most of their business is focused on supplying to plants, not dealer service centers that these distribution centers serve. "Direct and immediate impacts are mainly felt with vehicle and component assembly plants that are targeted for labor disruptions.”
This is a developing story that is being updated throughout the day.