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UAW Staff Launch First Strike Against All Big Three Automakers

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For the first time in its history, the United Auto (UAW) Workers union is on strike against all three of America’s unionized automakers at once: General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.

Employees left three factories—one from each of the Big Three automakers—in Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio on Friday. Union members brandishing signs cheered at the picketers.

The UAW referred to their deliberate strike against three plants as a “Stand Up Strike,” which it described as a tactical “new approach” to leaving your work.

“As time goes on, more locals may be called on to ‘Stand Up’ and join the strike,” the union told members. “This gives us maximum leverage and maximum flexibility in our fight to win a fair contract at each of the Big Three automakers.”

The first three locations where the UAW went on strike were GM’s Wentzville, Missouri, which employs 3,600 UAW workers, Ford’s Michigan Truck facility in Wayne, Michigan, where 3,300 workers will be on strike, and Stellantis’ Toledo Assembly complex in Ohio.

Less than 13,000 of the 145,000 UAW workers actually left their jobs.

“These were chosen carefully by the UAW and reflect a strategy that will ensure a large number of suppliers and dealers are affected, while reducing the number of UAW workers that, at least initially, are on strike and receiving strike pay,” said Patrick Anderson. CEO of Anderson Economic Group.

After mocking the union’s ambitious demands for higher pay, benefits, and employment protections for its members, the automakers went on strike. The union was attempting to reclaim numerous benefits that had to be given up more than ten years ago when the firms were cash-starved and on the verge of bankruptcy since all three automakers were reporting record or nearly record earnings.

All of the automakers made double-digit wage increases offers to the union, but they were not sufficient to satisfy their requests.

“I gotta look out for the people that are coming up behind me right now,” Scott Fox, a striking worker at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, told CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich Friday.

GM declared in a statement that it was “disappointed” but will keep negotiating.

“The UAW has informed GM that they are on strike at Wentzville Assembly in Missouri as of 11:59 pm. We are disappointed by the UAW leadership’s actions, despite the unprecedented economic package GM put on the table, including historic wage increases and manufacturing commitments,” the statement read.

“We will continue to bargain in good faith with the union to reach an agreement as quickly as possible for the benefit of our team members, customers, suppliers and communities across the US,” GM said.

According to Stellantis, this has placed the business in “contingency mode.”

“We are extremely disappointed by the UAW leadership’s refusal to engage in a responsible manner to reach a fair agreement in the best interest of our employees, their families and our customers,” the company said in a statement.

Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford, told CNN that his business couldn’t meet all of the union’s demands late on Thursday. Early on Friday, UAW President Shawn Fain told CNN that the Ford CEO’s assertions were “a joke.

Even though the strike is unprecedented, it is less widespread than was anticipated just two days prior, when it seemed as though all 145,000 UAW members at the three businesses may join the picket lines. That would have been the biggest active labor strike in 25 years in the country.

Many watchers of the auto industry had predicted that the union would target factories that provided parts to several factories at once. The 25 assembly factories owned by the three businesses may have been left without the parts they required to function, causing production to cease even with only a small number of plants—possibly as little as two per company—to go on strike.

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