UAW breaks pattern of adding factories to strikes on Fridays, says more plants could come any time

Oct 13, 2023, 8:06 AM

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union isn’t adding any factories to those that are now on strike, but its president says more walkouts could begin at any moment.

Until this week the union had been announcing additional factories on Fridays. But UAW President Shawn Fain told workers in a live video appearance that the companies started gaming the system, waiting until Fridays to make progress in bargaining.

“We will be calling out plants when we need to, where we need to, with little notice,” Fain said on Friday morning. “We’re not sticking to one pattern or one system of giving these companies an extra hour or an extra day. They know what needs to happen and they know how to get it done.”

Fain said the union is still bargaining hard with General Motors and Jeep maker Stellantis. But he criticized Ford, which said Thursday that it had reached the limit of how much money it will spend to settle the strike.

“I found a pathetic irony in that statement,” Fain said, adding that it’s workers who have reached their limits by not getting raises for a decade and giving up what he called retirement security.

His statements came four weeks after the union began its walkouts against the Detroit automakers on Sept. 15.

The strikes started with one assembly plant from each company. The union later added 38 parts warehouses at GM and Stellantis, and then one assembly factory each from Ford and GM. The UAW then made a surprise move on Wednesday, escalating the strikes by adding a huge Ford pickup truck and SUV plant in Kentucky.

About 33,700 workers are on strike against the companies. Analysts say parts supply companies, especially smaller ones without a lot of cash reserves, will be squeezed as the strikes goes on.

The head of Ford’s combustion engine vehicle unit said Thursday that the company had reached its limit for the amount of money it will spend to reach a deal with the union.

Kumar Galhotra, president of the Ford Blue business unit, told reporters Thursday that the company stretched to get to the offer it now has on the table that includes a 23% pay raise over four years and other benefit increases.

“We have been very clear we are at the limit,” he said on a conference call with reporters. “We risk the ability to invest in the business and profitably grow. And profitable growth is in the best interest of everybody at Ford.”

The company has a set amount of money, but is willing to move dollars around in a way that might fit the union’s needs, Galhotra said, adding that he still thinks it’s possible to reach a deal.

But Fain told workers Friday that the union added the Kentucky plant after Ford presented an economic offer Wednesday with no more money than a proposal from two weeks ago.

“Ford thought they could wait until Friday morning and then just make a better offer. They stopped being interested in reaching a fair deal now and only became interested in gaming our system of announcing strike expansions on Friday,” Fain said. “They thought they figured out the so-called rules of the game. So we changed the rules.”

Fain added that the Kentucky truck plant strike is sending a “very clear message” to Ford — as well as GM and Stellantis.

Stellantis said Friday that it is working to narrow the gaps in negotiations with the union.

“We have made progress this week and look for collaboration from the UAW to reach an agreement as soon as possible to get everyone back to work,” the company said.

It said, however, that because of a walkout at an assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio, it was laying off 700 more workers at plants in Kokomo, Indiana. Stellantis said it now has laid off a total 1,340 workers during the strike. Detroit’s three automakers have laid off over 5,000 workers at factories that are not among the plants that have been hit by the strikes.

The union began the strike by targeting a small number of plants from each company rather than have all 146,000 UAW members at the automakers go on strike at the same time.

Last week, the union reported progress in the talks and decided not to add any more plants. This came after GM agreed to bring joint-venture electric vehicle battery factories into the national master contract, almost assuring that the plants will be unionized.

Battery plants are a major point of contention in the negotiations. The UAW wants those plants to be unionized to assure jobs and top wages for workers who will be displaced by the industry’s ongoing transition to electric vehicles.

Galhotra said Ford is trying to figure out the complexities of pulling its joint venture battery factories into the national contract with the UAW. That would match GM and essentially assure the plants would be union.

Fain told workers that despite the escalation, they are making progress in their quest to get large wage gains, restore cost of living adjustments, get defined benefit pension plans for all workers, end different pay scale tiers around the nation and win job security assurances with promises to build new vehicles in the U.S.


AP Writer Wyatte Grantham-Philips contributed to this report from New York.

United States News

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Rangers recover the body of a Japanese climber who died on North America’s tallest peak

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Rangers have recovered the body of a Japanese man who died after an apparent fall while climbing North America’s tallest peak, authorities said Tuesday. Denali National Park and Preserve identified the climber as T. Hagiwara, from Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. He was identified by his first initial in keeping with his family’s […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Detroit could be without Black representation in Congress again with top candidate off the ballot

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit Democrat will not appear on the ballot after building significant support within the party in his attempt to unseat U.S. Rep. Shri Thanedar in Michigan’s August primary, after election officials determined that he had not submitted enough valid signatures. Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett’s ruling on Tuesday to keep […]

4 hours ago

DeAnn Kilgore grappled with the unexpected letter from her husband's killer, Michael Moore. Despite...

SuElen Rivera

Letters lead to meeting killer, life-changing moment

DeAnn Kilgore grappled with the unexpected letter from her husband's killer, Michael Moore. Despite initial reluctance, she read it, prompting a profound journey of forgiveness and spiritual healing for herself and her family.

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Hawaii officials stress preparedness despite below-normal central Pacific hurricane season outlook

HONOLULU (AP) — This year’s hurricane season for waters around Hawaii will likely be “below normal” with one to four tropical cyclones across the central Pacific region, forecasters said Tuesday. A near-normal season has four or five cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. Last year, during strong El Nino conditions, four tropical […]

5 hours ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

UAW breaks pattern of adding factories to strikes on Fridays, says more plants could come any time