In the 10 days since the United Auto Workers launched a strike against three of the biggest auto manufacturers operating in the United States, the work stoppage has spread to parts of the metroplex, and there is currently no end in sight.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, United Auto Workers (UAW), a labor union that represents about 146,000 auto workers in the United States, directed 13,000 of its members to strike at three particular plants: GM Wentzville Assembly in Missouri, the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, and the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant.
UAW is demanding a 40% pay increase across a four-year contract, among other adjustments to compensation packages and vacation time, in its negotiations with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis — the parent company of Jeep and Chrysler.
On Friday, workers at Stellantis’ Dallas Parts Distribution Center in Carrollton and the GM Fort Worth Parts Distribution Center in Roanoke joined the strike as part of a 38-facility expansion of UAW’s industrial action.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to do them; I really wish there was a better system to get things negotiated before something like this comes to,” said Cornelius Lincoln, president of UAW Local 816, NBC 5 DFW reported.
The expanded strike is reportedly posed to have a more immediate impact on consumers and dealerships than expected, with replacement parts essentially frozen in place.
“If your car doesn’t work, you’re just stuck. It’s just mean, don’t you think?” said Howard Drake, a California-based GM dealership owner, according to Reuters. “I thought the punishment would be in the form of adverse selection for customers with limited choice. I didn’t think it would be my lot stacked up with cars that I can’t fix because they won’t man a parts distribution center.”
Arthur Wheaton, director of labor studies at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, told Reuters that he thought targeting distribution centers was “a great strategy.”
“That’s how they make a lot of their money,” Wheaton said.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, UAW President Shawn Fain defended his union’s demands, pointing to executive compensation at the three companies.
“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, noting the increases in profits the companies have seen in recent years.
In response to many of the union’s claims, General Motors President Mark Reuss penned an opinion piece published by the Detroit Free Press that challenged some of UAW’s demands and insinuations, particularly the suggestion that an increase in profits without meeting the union’s demands was an example of corporate greed.
“Those record profits are reinvested in our company and our people. In 2022, GM had net income profits of $9.9 billion. In 2023, our capital spending will be $11-$12 billion. That’s not an aberration ― over the past ten years, our net income totaled $65 billion, and the amount we invested in that same period? $77 billion. … If we don’t continue to invest, we will lose ground — quickly. Our competitors across the country and around the world, most of whom are non-union, will waste no time seizing the opportunity we would be handing them,” Reuss wrote.