On August 23, 2023, members of the United Auto Workers held a rally and practice picketing near the Stellantis plant in Detroit.

Michael Weiland/CNBC

DETROIT – The United Auto Workers union plans strikes at three U.S. auto assembly plants General Motors, Ford and starUAW President Sean Fein announced Thursday night.

The strike hinges on the union and automakers failing to reach an agreement by an 11:59 p.m. ET deadline. People involved in the discussions told CNBC that the two sides remained far apart on Thursday night and that a strike was “highly likely.” Fein also said Wednesday that a strike was “possible.”

The plants were chosen by the union as part of a targeted strike plan initially announced late Wednesday by Fein, who has been unconventionally negotiating with all three automakers at the same time and has been unwilling to back down on the union’s demands. Too many compromises.

The plants are GM’s midsize truck and full-size van plant in Wentzville, Missouri; Ford’s Ranger midsize pickup and Bronco SUV plant in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellantis’ Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio.

The union’s main proposals include a 40% increase in hourly wages, a 32-hour reduction in work weeks, a return to traditional pensions, the elimination of compensation grades and the reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). Items discussed include increasing retiree benefits and increasing vacation and vacation time. Family leave benefits.

Ford CEO Jim Farley: Our company cannot be sustainable under UAW wage proposal

The automakers made a record proposal that met some, but not all, of the UAW’s ambitious demands. Specifically, the companies proposed roughly 20% wage increases, COLAs, changes to profit-sharing bonuses; and enhanced vacation and family leave improvements that the union said were inadequate.

Targeted strikes often focus on key factories, which can then cause other factories to halt production due to a lack of parts. It’s not unprecedented, but the way UAW President Sean Fein planned the shutdown is not typical. These include launching targeted strikes at selected factories and then potentially increasing the number of strikes depending on the status of negotiations.

Fein called the union’s plan a “stand-up strike,” a nod to the UAW’s historic “sit-down” strikes in the 1930s.

This is a development story. Please check back for more details.


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