DETROIT (CN)—The United Auto Workers announced an expansion of its strike against two of Detroit’s automakers that will start at noon Friday.
“We are not going to wait around forever or a fair contract at the big three,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a social media post Friday morning. “The companies know how to make this right.”
Fain is targeting Stellantis and General Motors for the strike expansion but warned that Ford Motor Company is not off the hook yet.
“We have serious issues to work through, but we do want to recognize that Ford is serious about reaching a deal,” Fain said.
He went on to say that 5,625 workers at 38 locations across 20 states and nine regions who work at parts distribution centers for both General Motors and Stellantis will walk off the job today.
“We will shut down … until those two companies come to their senses and come to the bargaining table,” he said.
The union has been negotiating with each of the three automakers since earlier this summer. The sides have both exchanged contract offers but officials have not been able to come to any agreements.
The strike began a week ago, when the existing labor agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 14. The targeted strike, which comprised approximately 13,000 UAW workers, was focused on Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, where it builds the Bronco; Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, where Jeeps are produced; and GM's Wentzville Assembly in Missouri, where the company makes Chevy cargo vans.
The strike against all three automakers simultaneously was a first for the labor organization. The action could cause ripples among parts suppliers who depend on the automakers for their existence.
Fain declared the public was on the UAW's side in this dispute and noted the "stand up" strike strategy, where the union announces new locations just hours before the strike begins in an attempt to surprise the automakers, was working.
“Our stand-up strike strategy is designed to do one thing, win record contracts after years of record profits,” he declared.
Fain detailed some of the union's ongoing demands in his video post, including an enhanced profit-sharing formula that was rejected by both GM and Stellantis. The union also wants an easier path for workers to get pensions, health care benefits, a new wage system and shorter working hours.
“There are no concessions on the table,” he stressed. “Invest these record profits into stable jobs and sustainable wages and benefits, it’s that simple.”
Fain implored anyone who supported the union’s demands to join them on the picket lines.
“From our friends and families, all the way up to the president of the United States, we invite you to join us in our fight,” he said.
He added: “We will shut down parts distribution until those two companies come to their senses and come to the table with a serious offer.”
Fain said the strike would expand as necessary if negotiations continue to falter.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre declined on Thursday to say if Biden plans to visit a picket line.
Ford released a statement about the strike Friday.
“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 statement said. “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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