(NewsSpace.com) – After negotiations failed, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union directed its workers to go on strike. Initially, that measure involved approximately 34,000 people employed at plants and distribution parts facilities owned by America’s three largest automakers: Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. The union continues to make some forward progress, but according to UAW president Shawn Fain, it isn’t enough. The strike, now in its sixth week, is extending to another factory as a result.
On Monday, the UAW directed workers operating out of a Stellantis plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, to join the strike. Workers at this factory produce the exceedingly popular Ram 1500 pickup truck. This walkout expands the strike by about 6,800 people, bringing the total number of people picketing in favor of better pay and benefits to more than 40,000.
The UAW wasn’t happy with Stellantis’ latest offer, calling it “the worst proposal on the table,” according to Axios. The automaker fired back, saying it was “outraged” over the fact that the union turned down its offer, which included a 23% wage increase. The UAW is seeking a 40% increase instead.
However, that wasn’t the only development this week. On Tuesday, approximately 5,000 workers walked out of an Arlington, Texas, GM factory that manufactures big SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade and the Chevrolet Tahoe. It’s clear the UAW is targeting the big-money facilities in order to drive the automakers to meet its demands.
With Texas workers joining the walkout, the total number of strikers hits 46,000. That equates to approximately 32% of the union’s members. The labor shortage is having a ripple effect on the industry. Automakers are suffering under the weight of parts shortages, leading them to lay off other workers not associated with the picketing.
Fain noted that the Detroit Three have extended “record contracts” to their employees, but he believes “there’s more ground to gain.” He notes that the automakers are experiencing record profits, but that windfall isn’t being extended to those responsible for the bulk of the work. GM and Ford representatives said they’ve reached the limit on what they are willing to offer.
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