The United Auto Workers union is ramping up pressure on the Detroit Three, threatening to expand the strike unless it sees significant progress in contract talks by Friday.

In a video statement Monday night, the UAW president Sean Finn said workers at more factories would join the fifth day of strikes at three factories.

“We’re not going to wait forever for them to drag it out… and we’re not going to sit idle” unless talks make “significant progress,” Fein said when announcing the deadline for escalating the strike at noon ET on Friday. The union plans to reveal the location of the new strike in an online presentation to members that morning.

Ford, General Motors and Stellantis say they hope to resolve the strikethey did not directly criticize the escalation threat.

Mark Stewart, Fiat Chrysler’s successor as Stellantis’ North American chief operating officer, said the company is still seeking common ground with the UAW.

“I hope we can do this by Friday,” Stewart said on CNBC.

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

A Ford spokesman said Tuesday that talks were continuing but did not provide further details.

Late Tuesday, Canadian union Unifor said it had reached a tentative deal with Ford to avert a midnight strike by 5,600 workers at several Canadian plants. The union did not immediately disclose terms of the deal, which was said to have been unanimously approved by the bargaining committee.

Unifor began talks with the Detroit Three on Aug. 10, then narrowed the discussions to Ford as a target on Aug. 29. The union will seek to use the Ford deal as a model for thousands of GM and Stellantis workers in Canada.

In Washington, the Biden administration reverses a Plan to send Acting Labor Secretary Julie Sue and senior adviser Gene Sperling will travel to Detroit this week to meet with both parties, according to White House officials. Last week, President Joe Biden publicly endorsed the United Auto Workers and said officials had an active role to play.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the White House now believes it is “most productive for Sperling and Sue to continue discussions and move forward” in Washington now that negotiations are underway. .

Fein downplayed the need for Washington’s help and said “this fight has nothing to do with the president,” and some Democrats opposed White House involvement.

“I don’t think the president himself should have intervened the way he intervened in the railroad strike in these negotiations. He should not have been at that table,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell, whose congressional district includes southeastern Michigan parts of the ministry.

So far, strikes have been limited to about 13,000 workers at the Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Miss., the General Motors plant in Wentzville, Mo., and the Stellantis plant in Toledo, Ohio.

However, layoffs are also starting to appear in other locations as the strike affects the industry’s supply chain.

In Toledo, the UAW has laid off more than 1,600 workers at 12 different stores at the Jeep factory where it is striking, said Bruce Baumhower, local union president in Northeast Ohio. More than half will receive state unemployment benefits, and workers at two companies located at the Jeep plant have been approved for union strike funds, “but they can’t picket because they’re not on strike,” he said.

General Motors warned on Monday that a strike in Wentzville, near St. Louis, could force the company to close a Kansas City assembly plant early this week. On Tuesday, the company said it expected production in Kansas City to continue for at least another day.

Automakers typically provide supplemental or partial pay to workers idled by supply chain issues, but Ford and GM said they would not do so this time because the shutdown was caused by a strike. Unions argue the layoffs are management’s choice, but their ability to challenge policy changes is unclear.

U.S. Steel said one of its blast furnaces in Granite City, Illinois, was temporarily idled, a sign it expected the strike to reduce steel demand. There are about 1,450 workers on site, most of whom are representatives of the United Steelworkers union, but the company said many workers would not be affected by the furnace shutdown.

Nikki Budzinski, the district’s congresswoman and a Democrat, said U.S. Steel is using the strike as an excuse to idle its furnaces. “Their attempt to blame this statement on the UAW strike is a shameful attempt to pit working people against each other,” she said.

CIE Newcor, a parts supplier, told Michigan state officials that it expects to close four factories in the state for a month starting on October 2, idling nearly 300 workers.

Jose Munoz, president and chief operating officer of South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co., told reporters in Atlanta on Tuesday that a prolonged strike would disrupt auto parts makers. He said the problems could hurt production at non-union automakers, not just the Big Three.

“The way supply chains work today, everything is interconnected,” Muñoz said. “It’s very difficult to get a supplier to only work with one (automaker). So, at some point, we’re going to see supply chain disruptions that could have an impact on the company over time.” “

The UAW is seeking wage increases of more than 30 percent over four years and other benefits. The union said workers should get a bigger share of the record profits the company posted as prices surged amid strong consumer demand and a limited supply of cars due to chip shortages and other problems.

The companies say they can’t afford to meet the UAW demands because they must invest those profits to help their transition to electric vehicles.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *