Strikes at plants of the US “big three” automakers – Ford, Stellantis (which owns Chrysler), and General Motors – started last night at midnight for the first time in the union’s history after Detroit’s Big Three automakers failed to reach a new labor agreement before their contract with employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) expired.
UAW’s president in the United States, Shawn Fain, announced the strike at the ‘big three’ at once, promoting a new strategy – a stand-up strike, that will include a GM facility in Wentzville, Missouri, a Stellantis facility in Toledo as well as a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan.
Before the talks, the White House issued a statement noting that President Biden spoke with the major US auto companies as well as with Fain to discuss the status of the negotiations concerning wages.
Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, often referred to as the Big Three, are asked for equitable contract offers by UAW, including a reduced 32-hour work week and a substantial 46% wage increase, among other provisions.
In response to the UAW’s demands, GM offered a 10% wage increase, Stellantis went up to a 14.5% increase whereas Ford offered a 9% wage increase followed by a 6% lump sum to be added later, offers that Fain called “shameful and insulting.”