Negotiations between United Auto Workers and auto manufacturers General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis are continuing as strike activity on the part of the union enters its fourth day on Monday.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, roughly 13,000 auto workers are striking at GM Wentzville Assembly in Missouri, the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, and the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant. UAW, which represents about 146,000 workers in total, opted to limit the work stoppages to the three plants.
The union rejected an offer by Stellantis to raise pay by 20% over the course of four years on Sunday, with UAW President Shawn Fain calling the offer a “no go.”
“We’ve asked for 40-percent pay increases. And the reason we asked for 40-percent pay increases is because in the last four years alone, the CEO pay went up 40 percent,” Fain said on CBS’ Face the Nation.
Fain went on to reference the Biden administration’s support of a transition to electric vehicles.
“Our tax dollars are financing a massive portion of this transition to EV. We believe in a green economy. We have to have clean water. We have to have clean air. … But this transition has to be a just transition. And a just transition means, if our tax dollars are going to finance this transition, then labor can’t be left behind.”
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, politicos like former President Donald Trump and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) have voiced support for the striking workers while also criticizing the Biden administration’s rush to transition to EVs.
Vance alleged that the EV push would result in net job losses for the auto industry, posting on social media, “Bidenomics: we’ll ship 100 car factory jobs to China for every 10 we create in the United States. Then we’ll congratulate all the impoverished auto workers for being part of a ‘just transition.’”
President Joe Biden is reportedly dispatching White House advisor Gene Sperling and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su to Detroit to help facilitate negotiations. The pair were previously tasked with making sure a work stoppage did not break out in the first place.
“Both Sperling and acting Secretary Su are engaging with the parties by phone, as they have for weeks, with the intention of being there early in the week,” a White House official said, according to NBC News.
The strike has already resulted in some job losses, with Ford announcing it was laying off 600 workers at its Michigan Assembly Plant’s south sub-assembly area of integrated stamping and body construction department.
“This is not a lockout,” Ford said in a statement, per ABC 6. “This layoff is a consequence of the strike at Michigan Assembly Plant’s final assembly and paint departments because the components built by these 600 employees use materials that must be e-coated for protection. E-coating is completed in the paint department, which is on strike.”
It is possible that in the coming days and weeks, more workers will join the strike.
“There is relief that we’re still continuing to work with an expired contract, but we’re on standby right now. So we could be a target in the near future, and all our members — the 5,500 that we represent at Chicago Assembly —— are ready, and mobilized, and organized for a strike,” said UAW Local 551 President Chris Pena, CBS News Chicago reported.