Strikes against Detroit’s Big Three automakers expanded to another Ford and another General Motors facility on Friday, two weeks after workers walked off the job to demand higher wages and better benefit.
Shawn Fain, president of the United Auto Workers union, called for 7,000 more workers at GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly in Michigan and Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant in Illinois to join the strikes on Friday. He said the employees would represent “the next wave of reinforcements in our fight for record contracts.”
No new actions were announced against Stellantis.
“To be clear, negotiations haven’t broke down,” Fain said Friday in a video streamed online. “We’re still talking with all three companies, and I’m still very hopeful that we can reach a deal that reflects the incredible sacrifices and contributions our members have made for the last decade.”
More than 18,000 workers at 41 GM, Stellantis and Ford facilities in 21 states are on strike, Fain said. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden became the first sitting president to join a picket line when he visited workers gathered outside GM’s Willow Run Redistribution Center in Belleville, Michigan.
Fain said that over the last week, negotiators “have been working day and night to bargain a record contract that reflects the record profits that we have produced for the Big Three.”
“Sadly, despite our willingness to bargain, Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress at the table,” he said, adding that significant progress was made with Stellantis on Friday.
“We are excited about this momentum at Stellantis and hope it continues.”
Union officials are pushing to get employees a pay raise and increased benefits. Automakers have argued that they can’t afford to meet UAW’s demands, saying they would hurt their ability to compete with companies that don’t use union labor.