KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The United Auto Workers union says it will go on strike at three factories as it presses Detroit companies to come up with better wage and benefit offers.
The factories include a General Motors assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, a Ford factory in Wayne Michigan, and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio.
UAW President Shawn Fain said Thursday night that more factories could be added to the strike list if negotiations don’t go the union’s way.
Contracts between 146,000 auto workers and the companies are set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. Despite increased offers from Ford and GM, it appears that no deals will be reached before the deadline.
The union has a list of demands including 36% pay raises over four years, cost of living raises, and an end to different tiers of wages for workers. Ford and GM are offering 20% during the next contract while Stellantis’ last known offer was 17.5%.
UMKC Economics Professor Dr. Sirisha Naidu has followed strikes in Hollywood and demands by UPS workers and says after laboring through the pandemic, workers are leveraging a labor shortage and trying to create more balanced work and personal lives.
“What’s driving members expectations are the Big 3’s profits, you can’t make 21 billion in profits in half a year and expect members to take a mediocre contract,” Naidu said. “I think the workers across various industries are making a stand and asking for a very small share of that profit.”
During what are expected to be segmented strikes at various plants, striking workers would receive $500 a week.
“In the short term at least workers will be OK,” Naidu said.
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That strike fund isn’t bottomless, but Naidu says the Big 3 Automakers have more to consider than just profits.
“We also have to think about the public relations hit companies can take if the population is with the workers,” Naidu said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.