UAW To Strike At Three Plants At Midnight, Barring Deal

File - A member holds up a sign at a rally by United Auto Workers Local 863 in Louisville, Ky., on Aug. 24, 2023. eaders of the UAW union are considering targeted strikes at a small number of factories run by each of Detroit’s three automakers if they can’t reach contract agreements by a Thursday night, Sept. 12 deadline. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

The United Auto Workers union plans to walk off the job at three plants in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri beginning at midnight Thursday, barring an eleventh-hour deal with Ford, GM and Stellantis.

The strike would initially target GM’s Wentzville Assembly plant in Missouri, Stellantis’ Toledo Assembly in Ohio and Ford’s Michigan Assembly in Wayne, Mich., UAW President Shawn Fain announced on a live stream Thursday night.

Union members at other facilities would continue working without a contract for the time being, Fain said. The strike would only target final assembly and paint at the Ford facility, he added.

The strike would mark the first against all three major Detroit automakers simultaneously, though initially limiting the strike to the three facilities — rather than the union’s entire 150,000 members — would dampen its short-term economic impact. But it would increase pressure on President Joe Biden to work with both sides to avert a full-blown work stoppage as his reelection campaign heats up.

“This strategy will keep the companies guessing. It will give our national negotiators maximum leverage and flexibility in bargaining,” Fain said. “If we need to go all out, we will.”

Fain said other members should be ready to join the work stoppage “at a moment’s notice,” but otherwise remained ambiguous about the union’s next steps.

“All options remain on the table,” he said. “National leadership will determine the appropriate targets and timing for further stand-up strike action.”

In a statement late Thursday, Ford said UAW had presented its “first substantive counterproposal” to the carmaker at 8 p.m. but “showed little movement from the union’s initial demands.”

“If implemented, the proposal would more than double Ford’s current UAW-related labor costs, which are already significantly higher than the labor costs of Tesla, Toyota and other foreign-owned automakers in the United States that utilize non-union-represented labor,” Ford said.

GM and Stellantis did not provide comment.

The Wentzville plant employs 4,100 and produces mid-size trucks and full-size vans, including the Chevrolet Colorado and Express and the GMC Canyon and Savana. Stellantis Toledo has 4,420 employees and makes the Jeep Gladiator and Jeep Wrangler, including its electric version, the Wrangler 4xe.

Ford Michigan employs 4,900 and produces the Ford Ranger and Bronco models. It’s not clear how many of the employees at each of the targeted plants are UAW members or how many employees work on the final assembly and paint lines at Ford Michigan.

Stellantis’ Toledo plant and Ford’s Michigan facility are located in counties that voted for Biden in 2020, while GM’s Wentzville plant is in a county that voted strongly for former President Donald Trump. None of the states are so-called right-to-work states where union organizing is more difficult.