The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against the three largest motor vehicle manufacturers in the United States has taken a significant turn. As of Friday, the strike has expanded with 38 new strike locations announced, primarily targeting Stellantis and General Motors (GM).

The Expanding Front

UAW President Shawn Fain announced that all parts distribution locations for Stellantis and GM across 20 states would now be joining the strike. This move comes as a significant escalation, with approximately 5,625 additional UAW members set to strike, bringing the overall total to more than 18,000.

Interestingly, while Ford seems to be inching closer to a deal with the UAW, GM and Stellantis are still in the thick of it. Fain emphasized, “But to be clear, we are not done negotiating with Ford yet.” No Ford plants were affected by Friday’s announcement.

UAW Workers At A General Motors Parts Distribution Center
UAW Workers At A General Motors Parts Distribution Center

The Backstory

The UAW initiated the strike against GM, Ford, and Stellantis on September 15th. Almost 13,000 workers walked out of three auto plants in Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio on that day. The union has been employing a “stand-up” strike method, targeting specific plants and expanding the list if no agreement is reached.

The Negotiation Table

Talks have been ongoing, with the UAW holding discussions with Ford on September 16th, GM on the 17th, and Stellantis on the 18th. While conversations with Ford have been described as “reasonably productive,” significant gaps remain, especially concerning key economic issues.

The Core Issues

Central to the negotiations are wage increases and the length of the workweek. The union is demanding a staggering 46% pay increase over the four-year duration of a new contract, coupled with a 32-hour workweek at 40-hour pay. In contrast, all three Detroit-based companies have proposed a 20% pay increase over the contract’s life but have maintained a 40-hour workweek.

A GM Parts Distribution Center In Chicago
A GM Parts Distribution Center In Chicago

A Call to the Top

In a bold move, Fain invited President Joe Biden to join the picket line, emphasizing the importance of public support in their cause. He stated, “The way you can help is to build our movement and show the companies that the public stands with us.”

The Impact

The strike’s repercussions are already being felt. Ford laid off 600 workers at a Michigan plant on September 15th due to a lack of adequate parts. The broader economic implications are also concerning, with economists suggesting that the strike could result in billions of dollars in losses and significant disruptions to the supply chain.

Effect On GM Truck Owners and Buyers

A strike at GM Parts Centers means two significant things. One, the parts supply for manufacturing new vehicles will be shut off quickly. Factories unaffected by a direct strike will most likely cease to operate within a few days. Two, parts used to repair existing vehicles at dealerships will also dwindle. Broken vehicles will stay broken, dealership repair shops will be unable to work and that means the UAW Strike will be felt far and wide beyond the corporate gates of General Motors. Dealerships and existing customers will soon suffer as well.

The HUMMER EV Undergoing Battery Replacement at Banks Chevrolet/GMC/Buick/Cadillac in Concord, NH
The HUMMER EV Undergoing Battery Replacement at Banks Chevrolet/GMC/Buick/Cadillac in Concord, NH

A General Motors Perspective

For General Motors, the strike’s expansion comes at a critical time. As one of the primary targets of the UAW’s latest move, GM will need to navigate these challenging waters carefully. The company’s reputation, financial health, and future growth are all on the line. With the UAW showing no signs of backing down, GM will need to strike a balance between meeting worker demands and ensuring the company’s long-term viability.

The UAW strike’s expansion marks a pivotal moment in the automotive industry’s labor relations. With General Motors at the epicenter of these developments, the coming days and weeks will be crucial in determining the future trajectory of both the company and its workforce.

Stay tuned to for more updates on this developing story.

Associated Press