The United Auto Workers union expanded its strike against Ford and General Motors at noon Sept. 29, as workers at assembly plants in Illinois and Michigan joined the picket lines.
Stellantis, UAW President Shawn Fain said, was spared following what he called “significant progress” in discussion on issues including cost of living allowance, the right not to cross a picket line, and the right to strike over product amendments, plant closures and outsourced moratoriums.
“We are excited about this momentum at Stellantis and hope it continues,” Fain said on a Facebook Live broadcast.
On Oct. 6, no additional facilities were added to the strike.
In all, 7,000 unionized workers at Ford’s Chicago and GM’s Lansing Delta Township assembly plants joined the strike Sept. 29. The escalation brings the total number of workers on strike against the Detroit 3 to about 25,000, or 17 percent of the UAW's membership at the auto makers.
"Our courageous members at these two plants (in Chicago and Lansing) are the next wave of reinforcements in our fight for record contracts," Fain said.
The Chicago plant builds the Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility and Lincoln Aviator.
The Lansing plant assembles the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse.
Automotive News notes that the shutdown of Explorer and Aviator production, particularly, could be especially painful for Ford. The auto maker only recently restarted production there after a recall-induced stop-sale idled the plant for months. Friday’s strike escalation marks the second in the UAW strike, which launched Sept. 15 and is entering its third week. And the strike is historic, being the first that the union has targeted at all three of the Detroit-based auto makers simultaneously.
“You know this is something we have never done in history before, bargaining with all three companies at the same time," Fain told reporters Friday afternoon from outside the UAW headquarters. "So there is going to be back and forth, and last-minute things happen.”
This week, that last-minute thing was progress with Stellantis. Last week, the progress had been with Ford.
The union spared Ford from a strike expansion Sept. 22, but added the Chicago assembly facility on Sept. 29, because progress with negotiations at Ford went backward, Fain told reporters.
“There were things we needed to make progress on and we didn’t, you know?” Fain said. “They led us to believe we were getting there, and we weren’t. We have to assess things daily as we bargain and talk, and plan the next steps.”