UAW strike enters day 6, expansion looming

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 7:06 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The United Auto Workers (UAW) union strike against the big three automakers—General Motors, Ford and Stellantis—is now entering its sixth day. 13,000 workers are on the picket line, but in just 48 hours, that number could go up.

On Monday, UAW president Shawn Fain announced more workers could go on strike Friday if Michigan’s automakers do not come to the table with a fair deal.

Union workers in Mid-Michigan have not joined the picket line but have been working on an expired contract. Even though workers are not on strike, multiple local unions have voted to strike if and when the time comes.

Workers are asking for a 46 percent raise, a shorter work week and changes to benefit plans for new hires.

President Joe Biden planned to send acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House Senior Advisor Gene Sperling to Detroit this week to support negotiations. However, that trip has now been canceled. Instead, Su and Sperling will engage with the UAW and the automakers from Washington, D.C.

Fain said he will do whatever it takes to get his members what they are asking for. A business professor said that might take a while.

“I think it depends on how insistent they are on all their demands. The UAW has a lot of demands,” said Marik Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University.

Strikers are not backing down.

“We just need better wages. We need to be able to support our families, equal pay,” said Miss Brown, a worker striking at a Ford Assembly line. “We shouldn’t have to choose between paying a mortgage and paying a car loan.”

With the new strike deadline, union workers in Mid-Michigan could join the picket line Friday at noon.

The last strike in Mid-Michigan was four years ago. UAW members picketed outside the Lansing Delta Township assembly plant and Grand River plant in 2019. That strike lasted 40 days.

UAW strike coverage:

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