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United Auto Workers Prepared to Initiate Strikes at Facilities in Wayne, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; and Wentzville, Missouri

by Joshua Brown
10 comments
United Auto Workers Strike

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has announced its intention to initiate labor strikes at three automotive manufacturing facilities, urging Detroit-based companies to present improved compensation and benefits packages.

The affected plants are a General Motors manufacturing facility in Wentzville, Missouri; a Ford plant located in Wayne, Michigan, adjacent to Detroit; and a Stellantis-owned Jeep facility in Toledo, Ohio. At the Ford factory, only the assembly and paint shop employees are slated to participate in the labor action.

Labor contracts covering 146,000 auto industry employees with these firms are due to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. All other plants will continue operations as usual.

In a digital address to the workforce, UAW President Shawn Fain emphasized the urgency of the situation, speaking less than two hours prior to the contract expiration deadline.

Additional Context

As the deadline approaches, contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers union and Detroit’s major automakers—General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis—continue to remain at an impasse. President Fain of the UAW has stated that the current proposals from these Detroit-based companies are insufficient, and the union is prepared to engage in labor strikes.

Notwithstanding enhanced proposals from both Ford and GM, it seems unlikely that any agreements will be concluded before the expiration of the existing contracts.

For the first time in its 88-year history, the UAW plans to initiate strikes simultaneously against all three automotive companies.

Approximately 13,000 employees across the three affected facilities are making preparations to discontinue work after the current contracts expire at 11:59 p.m. President Fain has warned that additional strikes may be called for if the companies fail to make satisfactory progress in negotiations.

The union’s stipulations include demands for a 36% wage increase over a four-year period, cost-of-living adjustments, and the elimination of wage stratification among different tiers of employees. In contrast, Ford and GM have proposed a 20% wage increase for the upcoming contract term, whereas Stellantis’s last publicly known offer was 17.5%.

The companies have indicated that the union has yet to respond to their latest proposals, deeming the union’s demands to be unreasonable. Their reservations stem from financial concerns, particularly as they must invest substantial sums into the development of electric vehicles, while concurrently manufacturing traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.

The Ford facility targeted for the strike employs approximately 4,600 individuals and is responsible for the production of the Bronco SUV and Ranger midsize pickup trucks.

The Stellantis Jeep complex in Toledo staffs around 4,200 workers and produces the Jeep Wrangler SUV and Gladiator pickup truck.

GM’s Wentzville facility employs about 4,100 workers and manufactures the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickups, as well as the GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express full-size vans.

Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, has observed that the union deliberately chose not to target plants producing the companies’ most profitable models—namely full-sized pickup trucks and large SUVs. Instead, they focused on plants that manufacture vehicles with lower profit margins.

Masters opines that companies will need to adjust their wage proposals upward to secure an agreement, and must also address the issues of wage tiers and the conversion of temporary employees to permanent positions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about United Auto Workers Strike

What factories are targeted for the United Auto Workers’ planned strikes?

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has announced plans to initiate strikes at three facilities: a General Motors manufacturing facility in Wentzville, Missouri; a Ford plant located in Wayne, Michigan; and a Stellantis-owned Jeep facility in Toledo, Ohio.

Who will participate in the strike at the Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan?

At the Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan, only the assembly and paint shop employees are slated to engage in the labor action.

When are the existing contracts between the auto workers and the companies set to expire?

The existing labor contracts covering 146,000 auto industry employees are due to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.

What are the primary demands of the UAW?

The union’s stipulations include demands for a 36% wage increase over a four-year period, cost-of-living adjustments, and the elimination of wage stratification among different tiers of employees.

What are the companies’ counteroffers?

Ford and GM have proposed a 20% wage increase for the upcoming contract term, whereas Stellantis’s last publicly known offer was 17.5%.

Why are the companies resistant to meeting the union’s demands?

The companies deem the union’s demands unreasonable, citing financial concerns. They are particularly concerned about increased costs at a time when substantial investments are required for the development of electric vehicles.

What vehicles are produced at the targeted factories?

The Ford facility in Wayne produces the Bronco SUV and Ranger midsize pickup trucks. The Stellantis Jeep complex in Toledo manufactures the Jeep Wrangler SUV and Gladiator pickup truck. GM’s Wentzville facility produces the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickups, as well as the GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express full-size vans.

What is the significance of these strikes being planned at all three companies?

For the first time in the UAW’s 88-year history, strikes are planned simultaneously against all three major Detroit-based automakers—General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.

What is the strategy behind the union targeting plants that produce vehicles with lower profit margins?

According to Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, the union’s decision to focus on these specific plants is intentional. They aim to apply pressure on the companies without pushing them into a financial corner, thereby leaving room for negotiation.

Could additional strikes be scheduled?

UAW President Shawn Fain has warned that additional labor actions may be undertaken if the companies do not make satisfactory progress in the ongoing contract negotiations.

More about United Auto Workers Strike

  • United Auto Workers Official Website
  • General Motors Labor Relations
  • Ford Corporate Social Responsibility Report
  • Stellantis Sustainability Initiatives
  • Department of Labor Statistics on Auto Industry Wages
  • Wayne State University Business Faculty Publications
  • Electric Vehicle Development and Labor Costs
  • Recent Trends in Labor Strikes and Industrial Relations
  • Understanding Wage Tiers in the Automotive Industry
  • Contract Negotiation Best Practices in the Automotive Sector

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10 comments

Rachel_R September 15, 2023 - 3:56 am

UAW making history here. if they pull it off, this could be a game changer for labor unions everywhere.

Reply
Liz_in_Toledo September 15, 2023 - 8:31 am

We got family working at the Toledo Jeep plant. Hope they reach an agreement before things get messy.

Reply
SarahM_91 September 15, 2023 - 9:39 am

So the companies are claiming they can’t afford the demands cause they’re investing in EVs? sounds like an excuse to me.

Reply
Econ_Wiz September 15, 2023 - 10:20 am

If the companies are struggling with EV investments, then high wage demands could genuinely be a problem. Tough situation all around.

Reply
Mike_Jenks September 15, 2023 - 11:11 am

Wow, didn’t see this coming! UAW going against all three at once, thats a bold move. Gonna be interesting how this turns out.

Reply
Carl_in_Detroit September 15, 2023 - 1:28 pm

1st time in 88 years all 3 are getting hit. thats historic, you guys.

Reply
TomTheAnalyst September 15, 2023 - 10:35 pm

UAW targeting lower-profit plants is kinda smart. They’re not pushing the companies too hard but still sending a message.

Reply
AutoFanatic September 15, 2023 - 11:42 pm

The focus on plants with lower profit margins is intriguing. Kinda gives companies some room to negotiate.

Reply
KevinFinance September 16, 2023 - 2:52 am

Contracts expiring and no deal in sight? That’s just bad for business. Time to get serious on both sides.

Reply
JennyQ September 16, 2023 - 3:16 am

36% pay raise over four years? Is that even realistic? Curious what the union’s basing this on.

Reply

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