US: Simultaneous strikes hit 'Big Three' car manufacturers

World Friday 15/September/2023 11:35 AM
By: DW
US: Simultaneous strikes hit 'Big Three' car manufacturers

Thousands of workers from the United Auto Workers (UAW) union began strikes on on Thursday night at three factories belonging to the so-called "Detroit Three" — Ford, General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellantis.

UAW President Shawn Fain announced the strike at three major car manufacturers two hours before the midnight contract expired.

Amid persistent inflation, the union is hoping it can force through pay gains from the top three US car manufacturers.

"The UAW Stand Up Strike begins at all three of the Big Three," the union said in a post on social media platform X, adding that workers were striking at three separate plants.

"Tonight, for the first time in our history, we will strike all three of the Big Three at once," Fain said.

Workers are set to strike at one plant at each company: a GM plant in Wentzville, Missouri; a Stellantis facility in Toledo, Ohio; and a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan.

The stoppages will be restricted to final assembly work and paint operations.

Fain said the targeted strike was intended to heap pressure on the carmakers while strikes continue.

What is the wider fallout of the action?

Some 12,700 workers were staging walkouts on Friday. The announcement came after employers failed to reach a last-minute agreement over pay with the union, which represents about 150,000 workers.

Any prolonged conflict could prove a thorn in the side of US President Joe Biden who has made EV car manufacturing a key part of his administration's efforts to tackle climate change.