DETROIT (Reuters) – The United Auto Workers will expand their strike at three Detroit plants and halt work at an additional assembly plant at General Motors (GM.N), Ford (FN) and Stellantis (STLAM.MI). Three sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The sources said that plans are fluid and could change at any time. The UAW declined to comment.
A source familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the UAW is expected to continue halting work currently underway until a new contract is ratified.
The union’s action follows an initial strike escalation on Sept. 22, when workers went on strike at GM and Stellantis distribution facilities in 20 states nationwide.
The strike began on September 15, when workers went on strike at one GM, Frod, and Stellantis plant each. The UAW did not strike Ford distribution facilities, citing progress in talks with that company.
UAW President Shawn Fain was scheduled to deliver a video address Friday at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT). On Thursday, the union filed a counterproposal for Stellantis. Talks between the UAW and the Detroit Three’s negotiators were described as “very active” by one person familiar with the situation.
Heading into Friday, about 18,300 UAW members in the Detroit 3 were on strike, or about 12% of the 146,000 union members working at automakers. Strikers were paid $500 a week from the UAW’s strike fund.
The union previously closed one assembly plant in each of its three Detroit centers, and 38 parts distribution centers at GM and Stellantis.
The impact of these strikes has been relatively limited compared to the financial hit caused by the shutdown of assembly lines that make the Ford F-series, Chevy Silverados and Ram trucks.
Analysts estimate that GM, Ford and Stellantis earn up to $15,000 per vehicle on each of their large pickup truck models.
The UAW has taken a new approach with strikes to increase pressure on automakers. Instead of the slam dunk of a mass strike, the UAW used strikes like a ratchet, keeping company executives guessing where the next turn would come.
The union began its first strikes on September 15, with simultaneous strikes at one assembly plant at each automaker.
On September 22, the union expanded its strikes against General Motors and Stellantis, but kept Ford’s withdrawal limited to one factory due to progress in those talks. It’s not clear whether Ford will be targeted in the next round of proceedings.
The union and companies remain far apart on key economic issues. Fine has stuck to the demand for a 40% pay raise on a four-year contract, a position that President Joe Biden supported during a visit to Detroit on Tuesday. Companies have responded with offers of around 20%.
The UAW is also pushing automakers to eliminate the two-tier pay system, under which new employees can earn much less than older employees.
Shares of Ford and General Motors fell slightly in early trading on Friday.
Reporting by David Shepardson and Joseph White, Editing by Nick Zieminski
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