DETROIT – More walkouts were expected Friday as the United Auto Workers union once again expands its strike against Detroit’s Big Three as part of a tactic to push automakers to make “serious” progress with their negotiations by leveraging targeted strikes.
UAW President Shawn Fain is expected to announce Friday, Sept. 29 that the auto strike is expanding to include more facilities and workers -- something he already did exactly one week prior. His live social media announcement is scheduled for 10 a.m.
We’ll be streaming the update live on Local 4+. You can watch live in the video player below.
Union’s strike strategy
After initiating the union’s first-ever simultaneous strike against General Motors, Stellantis and Ford Motor Company at three facilities, one for each company, Fain expanded the strike to 38 parts distribution centers last week.
Only GM and Stellantis were included in the union’s strike expansion, however, since talks with those companies have moved particularly slow, according to Fain. When making the announcement on social media last Friday, Fain said the union’s negotiations with Ford had made significant progress, which apparently helped them avoid facing more strikes.
It’s all part of the union’s new approach to striking amid this year’s negotiations. In previous years, UAW leadership would identify one of the big three as their target company for negotiations and a potential strike. Once a deal was struck with that company, the new contract would be used to establish new contracts at the other two companies, which is called pattern bargaining.
But before the UAW’s contracts with the Big Three automakers expired on Sept. 14, the union said it would not name a target, nor would it extend any of the contracts if a new agreement wasn’t reached in time. Instead, the UAW opted to launch a strike at all three companies on Sept. 15 in an effort to encourage simultaneous negotiations with each carmaker.
Union leaders have since been targeting specific locations for the strike that are intended to give them leverage as they seek to secure their aggressive list of demands. So far, the UAW has shut down assembly plants that make midsize pickup trucks, SUVs and commercial vans, and has allowed automakers to continue producing pickup trucks and large SUVs, their most profitable vehicles.
However, experts say the UAW could initiate strikes at the valuable pickup and SUV factories to push the Big Three to make better deals, especially if negotiations continue to move slower than the union desires. The union could also decide to strike at component factories, such as those making transmissions, to bring assembly lines to a halt.
Around 18,000 of the UAW’s 146,000 autoworkers, about 12%, were striking at 41 facilities across the U.S. as of Thursday, with only one Ford facility included in that count. It was unknown Thursday what facilities may be targeted next by the UAW, or how many workers would be added to the strike.
Autoworkers who have been striking since Sept. 15 are just receiving their first strike payments, which the union provides to members actively on the picket lines. The UAW had around $825 million in its strike fund before the strike began.
Fain is scheduled to go live with a social media update at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 29. More walkouts are expected to occur at noon the same day.
Where strikes are already happening
Here’s a map of the 41 locations where UAW-represented autoworkers were striking before Friday, Sept. 29.
UAW autoworkers were striking at the following facilities leading up to Sept. 29:
- Wentzville Assembly
- Davison Road Processing Center
- Flint Processing Center
- Lansing Redistribution
- Pontiac Redistribution
- Willow Run Redistribution
- Ypsilanti Processing Center
- Chicago Parts Distribution
- Cincinnati Parts Distribution
- Hudson, Wisconsin Parts Distribution
- Denver Parts Distribution
- Reno Parts Distribution Center
- Rancho Cucamonga Parts Distribution
- Fort Worth Parts Distribution
- Martinsburg, West Virginia Parts Distribution
- Jackson, Mississippi Parts Distribution
- Charlotte, North Carolina Parts Distribution
- Memphis AC Delco Parts Distribution
- Philadelphia Parts Distribution
- Toledo Assembly Complex
- Centerline Packaging
- Centerline Warehouse
- Sherwood (Warren)
- Warren Parts
- Quality Engineering Center (Auburn Hills)
- Los Angeles
- Portland, Oregon
- Winchester, Virginia
- New York
- Michigan Assembly Plant (final assembly and paint only)