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UAW announces strikes at three factories at Big Three automakers

The union is demanding 36% raises over four years, among other things.

Published: September 14, 2023 9:06am

Updated: September 14, 2023 11:17pm

The United Automobile Workers union on Thursday announced that it would launch strikes at three Detroit Three factories if it failed to reach an agreement with major automakers by midnight.

Union President Shawn Fain confirmed the plans via Facebook live, noting that "[f]or the first time in our history we will strike all three of the Big Three," Reuters reported. The "Big Three" refers to General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, formerly known as Chrysler.

The strikes will affect the Ford plant in Wayne, Mich., the GM plant in Wentzville, Miss., and the Stellantis plant in Toldeo, Ohio.

Fain said Wednesday that the firms increased initial wage offers while rejecting some other demands, The Associated Press reported.

"We do not yet have offers on the table that reflect the sacrifices and contributions our members have made to these companies," Fain said. "To win we’re likely going to have to take action. We are preparing to strike these companies in a way they’ve never seen before."

If the union and the Big Three do not come to an agreement, it would be the first time in the union's history that its members would strike at all three companies at the same time.

The union began by demanding 40% raises over a four-year contract, but lowered its demand to 36%. The union is also seeking raises to correspond to the cost of living, an end to tiered-wages for factory jobs, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay and pension increases, among other things.

The current top pay for a factory worker is $32 per hour. Fain said Wednesday that Ford offered a 20% raise over 4½ years, GM offered 18% over four years and Stellantis proposed 17.5%. 

The 146,000-member union is planning what it calls a "Stand Up Strike," which would "keep the companies guessing as to where and when the next local walkout would be," Fain said.

The union has received support from several politicians, including New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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