In a significant escalation of its strike action, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union deployed 6,800 workers to walk out of Stellantis’ largest assembly plant on Monday, effectively halting production of the highly lucrative RAM 1500 pickup truck. This move marks a substantial amplification of the strike, which has persisted for over a month. The UAW’s collective strike endeavors now encompass a staggering 40,000 members distributed across Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.
UAW President Shawn Fain justified the expanded strike by highlighting Stellantis’ proposal as the most unfavorable among the offers on the negotiating table. The contentious points of contention include matters related to wage progression, temporary worker compensation, conversion to full-time status, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and more. Last week, Fain issued a stern warning, intimating the possibility of further walkouts at U.S. truck and SUV plants unless the Detroit Three automakers improved their proposals. According to the union, the companies possess the financial capacity to offer more generous packages than those presently on offer.
In an unusual stance, the UAW is advocating for concurrent strikes at all three automakers, demanding a 40% increase in wages, with an immediate 20% raise. Additionally, the union seeks enhancements in benefits and seeks to encompass EV battery plant workers within union agreements.
UAW Chairman Bill Ford sounded the alarm on October 16 regarding the strike’s burgeoning repercussions on the U.S. economy. According to data gleaned from the economic consultancy firm Anderson Economic Group, the collective economic losses incurred by the Detroit Three now stand at a staggering $3.45 billion, with the overall economic impact of the UAW strike estimated at a monumental $7.7 billion.
Meanwhile, in trading centers across the globe, Stellantis shares surged by 1.9% in Milan, whereas Ford and General Motors witnessed declines in New York, registering at 1.1% and 0.5% respectively.
Following Monday’s extensive strike expansion, UAW President Shawn Fain personally greeted workers departing from the Stellantis plant. Fain extended handshakes and distributed picket signs as a demonstration of solidarity. The UAW’s unyielding stance on wage demands and reluctance to compromise has further compounded the predicament of the already beleaguered Detroit Three, causing distress for automakers and industry analysts alike. With the ongoing strike effectively paralyzing the production of the immensely profitable RAM 1500s, and the union resolute in their resolve to persist until their demands are met, the duration of this tumultuous episode remains uncertain.