The shutdown begins at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union, with 150,000 members, announced after midnight that workers at three plants of General Motors, Ford and Stellantis (USA) have started a historic strike after failing to reach an agreement with the companies.

It is the first time in history that the factories of the so-called Big Three of Detroit, as the three companies are known, have gone on strike simultaneously.

The union and the three major US automakers have been negotiating since July a new collective agreement that should govern their labor relations for the next four years. UAW began negotiations with a request for salary increases of 46% in four years, the reduction of the working day to 32 hours, a return to traditional pensions and the unionization of workers in battery production factories. Improvements have also been proposed for retirees and for family conciliation.

“For the first time in our history, we will attack the ‘big three’ at once; for the first time in history, we will strike at the same time in all three (companies). “We are using a new strategy, the selective strike.”said Shawn Fein, president of the union in a speech broadcast live on Facebook Live.

The first three assembly plants chosen are GM’s Wentzville, Missouri; that of Toledo, in Ohio, by Stellantis; and Ford’s Michigan plant in Michigan.

These factories produce Ford’s Bronco SUV, GM’s Colorado and Canyon midsize trucks, and Stellantis’ Jeep.

“Those who have not been called to strike will continue working with the expired collective agreement. This strategy will keep companies wondering. It will give our negotiators maximum ability and flexibility to negotiate,” Fein added.

The union leader asked the workers of the three companies to be ready to join the strike whenever they are called.

Ford and GM have offered 20% wage increases spread over the next four years, and the UAW has accused the companies of not taking the negotiations seriously.

The last strike in the sector occurred four years ago during the negotiation of the collective agreement that expires at 11:59 p.m. local time on Thursday.

Then, GM’s 49,000 workers went on strike for 40 days, costing the company €3.57 billion.

Tom Roeser Staff

Tom Roeser Staff

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