UAW adds GM, Ford SUV plants to strike

Washington: The United Auto Workers (UAW) is expanding its strike against the ‘Big Three’ US automakers to General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Company SUV plants, the union’s President Shawn Fain announced on the 15th day of the strike.

During a Facebook live on Friday, Fain told workersthat negotiations haven’t broken down but Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Sadly, despite our willingness to bargain, Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress at the table,” Fain said.

More than 7,000 workers at the GM plant in Delta Township in Lansing, Michigan, and the Chicago Ford assembly plant in Illinois began their strike at noon on Friday.

The GM plant has more than 2,800 employees making large crossover SUVs such as Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse, while the Ford plant has 5,700 hourly workers making Ford Explorer and Explorer police interceptors, as well as the Lincoln Aviator SUV.

With these additional members joining in the strike, the total number of striking UAW members across all three automakers would reach over 25,000.

Stellantis NV is spared of the strike expansion this time following progress made in negotiations, Fain said on Friday.

Last week, the UAW spared Ford from an expansion of the strike, saying it had made progress at the bargaining table with the automaker.

UAW announced strike at three select factories of Ford, GM and Stellantis on September 14, after its contract with the Big Three expired.

It then spread the strike to 38 GM and Stellantis parts distribution centers around the country on September 22, following a failure in making meaningful progress in new contract negotiations.

According to the latest updates from the company and the union, Ford has offered a 20 per cent wage increase over the four years of the contract, job security the UAW had sought, the restoration of cost-of-living adjustments, an enhanced profit-sharing formula, the elimination of a tiered wage, the immediate conversion of temporary workers to permanent status, and cutting the time it takes for permanent full-time workers to reach the top of the wage scale from eight years to four.

GM and Stellantis have made similar wage offers.

The union initially demanded 46-per cent in compounded wage increase over four years and has since reduced its request to 36 per cent without compounding.

IANS

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