published : 2023-10-15

UAW Strike Against Detroit Automakers Enters New Phase, Union Boss Says

Further escalations of strike against Ford, GM, and Stellantis could come at any time

A photo of UAW President Shawn Fain addressing union members during a rally in Detroit. (Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

The United Auto Workers strike against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis has entered a 'new phase' as it hits its one-month point, the union's top leader said Friday.

During his weekly address to members, UAW President Shawn Fain did not call for strikes at any additional plants but said further walkouts could come at any time, not just on Fridays as they had in the first few weeks of the strike.

The union already demonstrated the adjustment in its strategy earlier in the week when it ordered the shutdown of Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, a surprise move the automaker condemned.

"They thought they figured out the so-called rules of the game, so we changed the rules, and now there's only one rule: pony up," Fain said of the Detroit automakers Friday. "We're at a point in this process where we are looking for one thing only — a deal, a tentative agreement."

An image of striking United Auto Workers picketing outside the General Motors Lansing Delta Plant in Delta Township, Michigan. (Taken with Nikon D750)

Fain said UAW leadership decided to strike at Ford's Kentucky plant Wednesday after it met with the company's negotiation team at its headquarters.

According to Fain, Ford refused to offer more in its latest proposal, so the union called for the 8,700 workers employed at the factory to walk out.

"We're not messing around," Fain told the union membership. "A negotiation requires both sides making movement. If they're not ready to move, then we're going to give them a push in a language they understand. Dollars and cents."

The UAW launched its simultaneous but limited strike against Ford, GM, and Stellantis on September 15, beginning with one plant at each automaker.

A photograph showing the empty assembly line at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville after the union called for workers to go on strike. (Taken with Sony Alpha a7 III)

The union has incrementally expanded the strike to other plants.

More than 33,000 of the 150,000 union workers employed by the Big Three are on strike.

So far, the strike has cost the U.S. economy more than $5.5 billion and resulted in thousands of layoffs at the automakers and their suppliers due to the shutdowns at critical assembly plants.