The UAW expanded its strike on Friday, targeting Ford and General Motors. UAW President Shawn Fain announced on Facebook Live, calling on an additional 7,000 UAW members to hit the picket lines at noon Eastern Time today.
The UAW picked Ford’s Chicago Assembly and GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly plants for the new strike action. The additional workers bring the total number of strikers to 25,000 members. The UAW’s Stand Up Strike now affects 43 facilities in 21 states.
Ford President and CEO Jim Farley said the union has already achieved a record contract and that it was “grossly irresponsible to escalate the strikes.” GM’s Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing Gerald Johnson told Automotive News that the strikes are “just for the headlines, not real progress,” noting that the automaker has not received a counteroffer from the UAW to its latest proposal.
Stellantis avoided additional strike action from the union on Friday. The automaker said in a statement that it has made progress in its discussions with the UAW, “but gaps remain.” It’s committed to reaching a “fair and responsible agreement.” According to the UAW, the automaker has made “considerable progress in bargaining” on several issues, including cost-of-living adjustments, just before Fain expanded the strike as it enters its third week.
The two factories targeted today produce popular SUVs for both automakers. GM’s facility builds the Buick Enclave and the Chevrolet Traverse, while Ford builds the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator in Chicago. During Fain’s broadcast, the union president noted that negotiations have not broken down, and it continues talking with all three automakers.
Early this week, US President Joe Biden made a historic visit to the picket line. He addressed UAW members at GM’s Willow Run redistribution center, marking the first time in modern history that a sitting US president joined picketing workers.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk also took to X (formerly Twitter) to blast the union this week, saying the UAW’s demands could drive the three automakers into bankruptcy. Tesla does not employ unionized labor at its plants and is unaffected by the strikes.
The historic strike kicked off on September 15 when nearly 13,000 UAW members walked out. This is the first time in the organization’s 88-year history that it picketed all three automakers simultaneously. The union and the Big Three Automakers last negotiated a four-year contract in 2019.