Friday marked a week since the beginning of the United Auto Workers (UAW) stand-up strike, and entering the day it seemed inevitable that the trade group would expand its action. That has come to pass, but in a perhaps different way than anticipated. UAW President Shawn Fain called upon all of General Motors and Stellantis parts distribution center employees to go on strike, effective noon Eastern Time.
The expansion will cover 38 locations across 20 states, and, notably, will not impact any additional Ford facilities aside from the Blue Oval's Michigan Assembly plant, where workers already walked off the floor a week ago.
Fain broke down the rationale on a Facebook Live stream to the public at 10 a.m. While Ford has, according to the UAW president, made strides to negotiate in good faith with the union—agreeing to break down wage tiers in favor of cost-of-living allowance; granted Ford employees the right to strike over plant closures; enhanced the company's profit sharing formula; and agreed to the immediate conversion of all temporary employees with at least 90 days employment upon contract ratification—GM and Stellantis have reportedly rejected all of the UAW's proposals on those fronts.
"This will impact these two companies' repairs operations," Fain said. "Our message to the consumer is simple: The way to fix the frustrating customer experience is for the companies to end price gouging. Invest these record profits into stable jobs and sustainable wages and benefits."
Fain acknowledged that while negotiations with Ford have been productive, the UAW is "not done at Ford." The union and automaker still have "serious issues to work through," in the president's words, but the UAW does "want to recognize that Ford is showing that they're serious about reaching a deal. At GM and Stellantis, it's a different story."
GM reportedly recently agreed to eliminate wage tiers, which have been a major sticking point for the UAW through this process, at its Customer Care and Aftersales facility in Burton, Michigan, as well as at GM Components Holdings. The latter comprises four facilities across New York, Michigan, and Indiana. However, Fain noted that without cost of living adjustments, those gains cannot be guaranteed long term.
Recent comments by GM president Mark Reuss were also called into question by the UAW leader, who had said that the insistence that GM is paying employees "poverty wages" is part of a "flow of misinformation" by the union. "This week, the president of GM wrote an op-ed talking about how supposedly great the wages are for 85 percent of their workers," Fain said. "We fight for 100 percent of our members, and we are committed to ending tiers across the board."
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