The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is expanding its strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers in an effort to push for progress in negotiations. UAW President Shawn Fain is expected to announce on Friday, September 29, that the strike will be expanding to include more facilities and workers.
This expansion comes after last week’s announcement that the strike would include 38 parts distribution centers, though only General Motors and Stellantis were targeted due to slow progress in negotiations. Ford Motor Company had apparently made significant progress in their negotiations, which helped them avoid facing additional strikes.
This tactic of targeted strikes is part of the UAW’s new approach to striking during this year’s negotiations. In the past, the union would identify one of the major automakers as their target company for negotiations and potential strikes. Once a deal was reached with that company, it would be used as a model for negotiations with the other two companies. This strategy is known as pattern bargaining.
However, this year the UAW decided not to name a target or extend any contracts if a new agreement wasn’t reached in time. Instead, they launched a strike at all three companies simultaneously to encourage negotiations with each automaker. The union has been targeting specific locations to gain leverage and has shut down assembly plants producing midsize pickup trucks, SUVs, and commercial vans.
Experts suggest that the UAW could initiate strikes at the valuable pickup and SUV factories, or at component factories producing transmissions, to put further pressure on the automakers. As of Thursday, about 12% of the UAW’s 146,000 autoworkers were striking at 41 facilities across the US.
Autoworkers who have been striking since September 15 are just starting to receive their first strike payments, which are provided by the union to members actively on the picket lines. The UAW had around $825 million in its strike fund before the strike began.
UAW President Shawn Fain is set to provide an update on social media on Friday, September 29, and more walkouts are expected to occur at noon on the same day. The strikes are part of the ongoing negotiations between the UAW and Detroit’s Big Three automakers, with the union pushing for better deals and meeting its list of demands.