U.S. automakers General Motors, Ford and Stellantis entered talks with the auto workers union UAW early on Friday in a last ditch attempt to avoid a wider work stoppage at their plants across the country, a week after the union began striking at three plants in Missouri, Ohio and Michigan.
The late night negotiations take place hours before the UAW’s Friday noon deadline for an expanded strike, Reuters reported.
The union’s president Shawn Fain warned the strike could expand to include more of the union’s 146,000 members, unless “substantial progress” is made on a “fair agreement” for the workers.
Currently UAW workers are striking at a General Motors plant in Missouri, a Stellantis plant in Ohio and a Ford plant in Michigan—which produce the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and Chevrolet Colorado.
An expanded strike will likely include plants that produce some of the automakers’ most popular models, including the Ford F-150, the Chevrolet Silverado and the Ram pickup trucks.
12,700. That is the total number of UAW members who are currently striking at the three plants in Missouri, Ohio and Michigan.
The targeted strikes at specific plants are part of a UAW strategy called “Stand Up Strike”, which is supposed to grow over time and give its negotiators “maximum leverage and maximum flexibility to win a record contract.” The Detroit News reported on leaked messages sent on the social media platform X by UAW UAW communications director Jonah Furman, outlining the rationale behind the method. Furman reportedly wrote: “If we can keep them wounded for months, they don’t know what to do. The beauty is we’ve laid it all out in the public and they’re still helpless to stop it.” Furman also purportedly noted that instead of pattern bargaining, where a deal is struck with one auto maker and then applied to workers at the other two, the carmakers are “bargaining against each other for the first time in 70 years.”
What To Watch For
Fain will address the UAW’s members in a Facebook livestream at 10:00 a.m. ET, where he is expected to provide details about the plants that will join the expanded strikes at noon if the negotiations fail.