The United Auto Workers strike has expanded following an order from the union to strike at Stellantis’ largest manufacturing plant on Monday.
Another 6,800 United Auto Workers (UAW) members joined the strike against the Big Three Automakers, which includes Stellantis, Ford, and General Motors (GM).
Workers from the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, which the UAW said was “Stellantis’ largest plant and biggest moneymaker” in a press release, were informed by the UAW that they would not be showing up for work.
The plant, located roughly 30 minutes north of Detroit, produces Stellantis’ Ram 1500 pickup trucks.
The UAW said in its press release that the decision to add this plant to the strike comes as the ongoing negotiations with Stellantis “lags behind both Ford and General Motors in addressing the demands of their UAW workforce.”
“Currently, Stellantis has the worst proposal on the table regarding wage progression, temporary worker pay and conversion to full-time, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and more.”
The walkout is the first surprise walkout since 8,700 UAW members left Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant on October 11, per the UAW press release.
Since the strike started on September 15, more than 40,000 UAW members from seven assembly plants have joined the strike against the Big Three. The strike also includes 38 parts distribution centers spanning across 22 states.
Demands from the UAW include a 40% wage increase, improvements in benefits, and the inclusion of EV battery plant workers in the next agreement, as reported by Reuters.
In response to the ongoing strike, each of the Big Three has laid off large numbers of workers throughout the negotiations.
GM announced on September 20 that it had stopped operations at its manufacturing plant in Kansas and was laying off 2,000 workers, according to NBC News. The company claimed it could not provide unemployment benefits due to “the specific circumstances of this situation.”
Ford’s most recent wave of layoffs came on Monday, as the company told more than 360 workers not to report for work, according to Fox 4 KDFW.
Ford has laid off an estimated 3,100 workers since the strikes began, attributing the casualties to the “knock-on effect” of the strike, per Fox 4.
As reported by The Dallas Express, all three automakers have expressed disappointment in the union’s decision to strike and maintained that they attempted good-faith negotiations with fair offers but were rejected.