The noise people here in Detroit is the clock ticking on the latest pronouncement by UAW chief Shawn Fain, who plans to order more hourly workers to stand up and walk out if “serious progress” isn’t achieved by Friday at 10 a.m.
As Fain threatens to send additional people to the streets to picket General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, the automakers are also laying off many of their colleagues as the strategic strikes already in place by nearly 13,000 UAW members at three plants cause those facilities to closed down.
Fain will do as he’s done repeatedly during the talks and the expiration of the contracts Sept. 14 at 11:59 p.m. tomorrow morning: he’ll host a Facebook Live event where he’ll update anyone who “tunes in” on the status of the talks.
Right now, it looks like despite offers from the Detroit Three for wage increases exceeding 20%, the elimination of employee tiers and other moves, Fain seems displeased with the offers. If the two sides aren’t close to a deal tomorrow morning, it appears he’s going to order more workers to leave their jobs and grab picket signs.
Likely the two sides will not come to any kind of resolution tomorrow so more workers will go on strike. However, the key is just how many and which plants will they strike.
Fain’s first choice was locations building some of each company’s most popular models. Ultimately, the impact of the strike is that the rest of the plant must shut down, forcing the automakers to layoff the rest of the workers — not exactly the best optics for companies consistently being accused of greed and apathy.
GM shut down its Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas Wednesday, idling about 2,000 hourly workers, because it’s not receiving stamped parts from its Wentzville, Missouri plant, where workers are on strike.
Stellantis also noted Wednesday it was laying off 68 workers at its machining plant outside Toledo as a result of the UAW’s strike at its Toledo plant that produces the ever-popular Wrangler as well as the Gladiator pickup. That number is likely to rise by triple digits due to the walkout, plus another 300 layoffs at Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo Casting in Indiana appear to be imminent.
Fain has repeatedly characterized the companies’ wage hike offers of about 20% as “inadequate,” but in an opinion piece in the Detroit Free Press, GM President Mark Reuss called the automaker’s contract proposal a “record offer,” adding the union’s demands are “untenable.” GM CEO Mary Barra and Ford chief executive Jim Farley have echoed those sentiments in recent days.