The United Auto Workers said Tuesday it will expand its strike against three U.S. automakers on Friday if the union is unable to make sufficient progress in contract talks with them.
About 13,000 UAW members walked out last Friday from assembly lines at three plants, one at each of the three companies – General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler’s parent company Stellantis. The union has demanded a 40 percent wage increase over four years, better benefits and other changes. Automakers that are based in Michigan or have a large presence there have offered about half the wage increases.
In a video posted on Facebook Tuesday, the union’s new president, Shawn Fenn, said workers could walk out at more plants this weekend.
He said, “If we don’t see serious progress by the afternoon of Friday, September 22, more locals will be called to stand up and go on strike.” “We will continue to hit companies where we need to.”
Separately on Tuesday, Mr. Fain called on former President Donald J. Responded to Trump’s criticism Expect to visit the Detroit area next week,
“Every fiber of our union is being invested in fighting the billionaire class and an economy that has enriched people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” Mr. Fenn said. “We cannot keep electing billionaires and millionaires who have no understanding of what it means to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to make ends meet and expect them to solve the problems of the working class Is.”
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last weekend, Mr. Trump said Mr. Fenn and the union had “failed” activists in the shift toward electric vehicles, which President Biden supported.
“Auto workers are being sold out by their leadership,” he said: “All these cars are going to be made in China. Electric cars, automatically, are going to be made in China.
Mr. Biden has expressed support for the striking workers, although the UAW has not yet endorsed his re-election. The union has long endorsed Democratic presidential candidates, but some of its members supported Mr. Trump in the last two elections.
The unions and companies, which are engaged in three separate negotiations, are far apart. The companies have offered raises of about 20 percent, but Mr. Fenn said that is not enough to offset the impact of inflation and concessions made by the union over the past 15 years.
The union also wants pensions to cover more workers, company-paid health care for retirees, shorter work hours and measures to make it harder for companies to close plants in the United States Go. Automakers have rejected most of those other demands.
In statements and interviews, auto executives have said that meeting all of the union’s demands would put them at a severe competitive disadvantage to Tesla and non-union plants operated by foreign automakers such as Toyota and Volkswagen. Labor costs at GM, Ford and Stellantis are already higher than those of most non-union car companies.
All three automakers have said they cannot afford substantial growth and new profits as they invest tens of billions of dollars to develop electric vehicles and build battery plants.