UAW Making Progress with Big Three, Opts Not to Expand Strike

Written by Laura Miller

The United Auto Workers (UAW) did not expand its strike against the Big Three Detroit-area automakers on Friday, as “significant progress” is being made in contract negotiations.

UAW President Shawn Fain rallied members during a Facebook Live address on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 6. Just moments before the weekly address, which had been delayed the week prior and was delayed again on Friday, General Motors made almost “unthinkable” concessions, Fain said.

“Today, I was ready to call on one of GM’s biggest and most important plants to stand up,” Fain said. “We were about to shut down GM’s largest money maker in Arlington, Texas.”

GM’s Arlington Assembly plant employs 5,322 workers, producing the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, the GMC Yukon, and the Cadillac Escalade.

Facing the threat of the strike’s expansion to that facility, GM agreed in writing to place workers at its new electric battery manufacturing facilities under its national master agreement with the UAW. Fain called this a major “victory” for the future of the automotive industry.

“The Big Three know we’re not messing around.
They know if they want to avoid further strikes,
they’ll have to pony up.”

UAW President Shawn Fain

The union lead said “significant progress” is being made in contract negotiations with each of the Big Three companies. “In just three weeks, we’ve moved these companies further than anyone thought was possible,” he commented.

The stand-up strikes, targeting specific plants of GM, Ford, and Stellantis, began on Sept. 15. On Sept. 22, the strike expanded to 38 GM and Stellantis parts distribution facilities, but Ford was spared as it had “agreed to core job security proposals.” On Sept. 29, the strike expanded again to other Ford and GM assembly plants. Progress was made in negotiations with Stellantis that week; therefore, the union chose not to add strikes at other Stellantis plants.

Although the strike, now three weeks in, was not expanded on Friday, “the Big Three know we’re not messing around,” Fain told members. “They know if they want to avoid further strikes, they’ll have to pony up.”

There is a time and place for additional strikes “to hit them where it hurts,” he noted.

“If the Big Three don’t continue to make progress, that time’s going to be coming real soon. We’re not going to wait around forever. We’re not here to start a fight. We’re here to finish one,” Fain stated.

Laura Miller

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