The UAW union has called a strike at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis plants
Major US union United Auto Workers (UAW) on Friday night announced the start of a mass strike at the plants of carmakers General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, threatening the US with serious economic damage.
“Today, for the first time in our history, we will strike three members of the Big Three at once,” union leader Sean Fain said during his address, which was broadcast on the union’s official YouTube channel.
Union members are demanding that the companies significantly increase wages along with better pensions, increased holidays and other measures.
About 150,000 union members work at the plants of the three major automakers and have been negotiating on their behalf to improve working conditions for the last time. The UAW had earlier set midnight Thursday U.S. East Coast time as the deadline to meet its demands, but no agreement had been announced as of that evening.
The strike will begin at midnight local time, the parties still have two hours to avoid it, but CNBC reports that their positions are still too far apart.
As union leader Sean Fain warned the day before, the strike will take place “at a level never seen before” at all three companies, but will not affect all the companies at once. According to him, it is about a limited number of locations, but over time, depending on the progress in dialogue with the leaders of the companies of the automotive industry, it may expand.
For his part, Ford CEO Jim Farley made it clear Thursday night that his company has not received any counterproposal from the union in the past two weeks. Farley also expressed confidence that in case of failure of negotiations between the parties, the situation threatens to turn into “one of the largest strikes” in American history.
A few hours before the deadline set by the union, as the White House press service reported, US President Joe Biden called the parties to the dispute. The administration did not give details of the discussions, only saying that the head of state expected to receive information about the status of the negotiations on the eve of the strike threatening the country.