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Ford’s Chicago assembly plant hit by UAW strike

Friday, Sep 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Last week, UAW President Shawn Fain said, “Ford is showing that they’re serious about reaching a deal,” and exempted them from the expanded strike. Something apparently changed

The United Auto Workers strike that began Sept. 14 at limited locations for the Detroit Three automakers spread to Chicago on Friday as the union sent workers at the Ford assembly plant to the picket lines.

Union President Shawn Fain made the announcement about the expanded strike action on Facebook Live. He said it would also begin a walkout at a General Motors plant in Lansing, Mich. The strikes are to start at 11 a.m. CDT. […]

Ford’s Chicago assembly plant at 12600 S. Torrence Ave. has about 4,800 workers. The new walkout does not include a Ford stamping plant in Chicago Heights.

Ford’s Chicago plant produces the popular Ford Explorer as well as the Lincoln Aviators SUV.

* Stellantis was spared this time

Fain said Chrysler-parent Stellantis was spared from additional strikes because of recent progress in negotiations with that company.

“Moments before this broadcast, Stellantis made significant progress on the 2009 cost of living allowance, the right not to cross a picket line, as well as the right to strike over product commitments and plant closures and outsourcing moratoriums,” said Fain, who was delayed nearly 30 minutes in making the online announcement. “We are excited about this momentum at Stellantis and hope it continues.” […]

Unlike past strikes, UAW leaders opted for targeted strikes at select plants instead of initiating national walkouts. It’s calling the work stoppages “stand-up strikes,” a nod to historic “sit-down” strikes by the UAW in the 1930s.

The strategy is in an effort to keep the automakers on edge in an effort to pit them against one another to achieve better contracts, according to private messages leaked last week involving the UAW’s communications director.

The messages, which described a strategy to cause “recurring reputations damage and operational chaos” for the companies, were heavily criticized by the automakers.

* Related….

    * What are the UAW strike demands? Here are the issues amid negotiations: The union wants an end to the tiered employment system, which means newer workers work for lower pay and lesser benefits. The union also wants the manufacturers to rely less on temporary workers, who are effectively in their own lowest tier. The companies say hiring temporary workers allows them to operate factories efficiently, respond to surges in consumer demand and give full-time employees more work flexibility. Ending employment tiers has been a big focus of other unions lately. UPS workers and their union, the Teamsters, recently approved a new contract that ended a tiered wage system that paid newer part-time employees less.

    * Why is the UAW on strike? These are their contract demands as they negotiate with the Big Three: The UAW also wants the Big Three to reinstate annual cost of living adjustments, arguing that inflation is eating away worker paychecks. For decades, the Detroit automakers offered a COLA, but stopped after GM and Chryslers went bankrupt following the 2008 financial crisis. Adjusting for inflation, autoworkers have seen their average wages fall 19.3% since 2008, according to Adam Hersh, senior economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. That’s because autoworker “concessions made following the 2008 auto industry crisis were never reinstated,” Hersh said in a recent blog post, “including a suspension of cost-of-living adjustments.” … Currently, UAW workers who were hired after 2007 don’t receive defined benefit pensions. For years, the union gave up general pay raises and lost cost-of-living wage increases to help the companies control costs. “The majority of our members do not get a pension nowadays. It’s crazy,” Fain complained while speaking to Ford workers last month at a plant in Louisville, Kentucky.

    * UAW expands strike against Big 3 automakers: Sticking points in negotiations were wage increases and the length of the workweek. The union is demanding a 46% pay increase combined over the four-year duration of a new contract, as well as a 32-hour workweek at 40-hour pay. So far, GM, Ford and Stellantis have each put forward proposals that offered workers a 20% pay increase over the life of the agreement but preserved a 40-hour workweek. … On Thursday, Fain accused GM and Stellantis of enabling violence against striking workers, pointing to incidents that occurred in Michigan, Massachusetts and California. Both companies denied the allegations and cited an escalation in behavior on the picket line.

       

3 Comments
  1. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 11:41 am:

    Solidarity to the workers. Those who oppose unions by and large voted for Republicans and for corporations to get a 40% federal income tax cut, not over four years or the duration of a union contract, but every year.


  2. - Original Rambler - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 1:31 pm:

    I’ve never been a big pro-union guy but I really hope this time that the UAW comes out of this looking like a winner. The next hoped for step would be a successful organizing campaign at one of the plants down South if the UAW workers end up with a better salary and benefits package.


  3. - walker - Friday, Sep 29, 23 @ 2:27 pm:

    UAW is tactically managing this like an orchestra conductor.


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