Thousands of members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union have launched a strike action at three key plants owned by General Motors.
Ford and Chrysler-owned Stellantis known as Detroit’s Big Three after a deadline passed for the automakers to reach a new labour deal with their workers.
Just after midnight Friday, the union said in a post on X: “the UAW stand up strike begins at all three of the Big Three.’’
The strike started as talks between the union and companies’ management failed to agree on contract terms and pay before the expiration of the four-year collective bargaining agreement at midnight Thursday.
A Ford plant in Michigan, a General Motors plant in Missouri and a Stellantis plant in Ohio were affected.
These factories reportedly produce highly profitable vehicles that continued to be in high demand.
On a combined basis, the union represents about 146,000 workers across the at Big Three.
In a statement, UAW said, “this fight is our generation’s defining moment, not just at the Big Three, but across the entire working class.’’
The union’s major demands to the automakers include an immediate 20 per cent wage increase followed by four annual 5 per cent wage hikes a reduced 32-hour workweek and cost-of-living adjustments.
Ford said on Thursday, that if implemented, the proposal would be more than double Ford’s current UAW-related labour costs, which were already significantly higher than the labour costs of Tesla.
It said that Toyota and other foreign-owned automakers in the U.S. that utilise non-union-represented labour.
Among the total striking employees, 3,300 are at Ford, 3,600 at GM and 5,800 at Stellantis.
On a combined basis, the union represents about 146,000 workers across the three companies.
In a statement, UAW said: “this fight is our generation’s defining moment. Not just at the Big Three, but across the entire working class.’’
In a last minute attempt to avoid the strike, GM reportedly had offered the UAW members a sweetened deal on Thursday that includes 20 per cent wage increases.
That there would be more vacation days and better benefits for retirees, among others.
GM boss Mary Barra called her company’s proposal unprecedented.