U.A.W. Will Expand Strikes at Ford and G.M.

The United Automobile Workers union on Friday significantly increased the pressure on Ford Motor and General Motors by extending its strike to two more car assembly plants, saying the companies had not moved far enough to meet its demands for higher pay and benefits.

The move is the second escalation of strikes that started on Sept. 15 at three plants, one each owned by G.M., Ford and Stellantis, the parent of Chrysler, Jeep and Ram. The union said it would not expand the strike against Stellantis this week because of progress in negotiations with the company.

The U.A.W.’s president, Shawn Fain, said workers at a Ford Chicago plant and a G.M. factory in Lansing, Mich., would walk off the job on Friday. G.M. makes the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse sport utility vehicles at the Lansing plant. Ford makes the Explorer, the Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator in Chicago. The plants together employ about 7,000 U.A.W. members.

“Ford and G.M. have refused to make meaningful progress at the bargaining table,” Mr. Fain said.

A week ago, the union called on workers to walk off the jobs at 38 spare-parts distribution centers owned by G.M. and Stellantis. The U.A.W. did not expand its strike at Ford because, the union said, it had significant progress in contract negotiations with that company.

The U.A.W. is seeking a substantial wage increase for workers and opened the talks by demanding a 40 percent raise, pointing to the substantial profits all three companies have generated over the last decade and to the big pay increases they have given their chief executives over the last four years.

The companies have each offered roughly 20 percent over four years. Ford and the union have also reached agreements on some other demands, including cost-of-living adjustments if inflation surges again and the right to strike if the company closes plants.

The parties have been meeting regularly, and on Thursday the U.A.W. presented its latest counter offer to Stellantis, the union said. Negotiating teams from the U.A.W. and G.M. met on Wednesday in a session attended by Mr. Fain.

The strategy of striking at only a limited number of locations owned by all three automakers is a break from U.A.W.’s traditional approach of idling most or all operations at one company. In 2019, union workers went on strike at G.M. for 40 days before a tentative agreement was reached.

Mr. Fain has said that the new strategy is intended to keep the companies guessing about what parts of their operations would be hit next, in hopes of improving the union’s negotiating position. The first three plants hit by the strike make some of the automakers’ most profitable vehicles, including the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler.

A limited strike also dents the companies’ profits while limiting damage to their suppliers, local businesses and the national economy.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *