UAW strike expands to 5,000 workers at GM plant, targeting company's 'most profitable vehicles'

The UAW's Stand Up Strike is showing no signs of slowing down as the union added 5,000 more workers on strike, this time against General Motors.

The UAW announced the expansion of the UAW strike, targeting GM's "most profitable vehicles", on Tuesday by adding 5,000 members from the Arlington Assembly plant in Texas.

The move came just a few hours after GM reported its most recent third-quarter earnings and one day after the UAW hit Stellantis' largest plant, Sterling Heights Assembly, in Michigan.

"Another record quarter, another record year. As we've said for months: record profits equal record contracts," said UAW President Shawn Fain in a press release. "It’s time GM workers, and the whole working class, get their fair share."

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Union members walked out at Arlington Assembly on Tuesday, bringing the total number of striking workers to 45,000 across all of Detroit's Big Three.

The strike targets the plant where the company builds the Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.

On Monday morning, 6,800 union members walked out of the plant, accompanied by UAW President Shawn Fain.

This strike expansion comes after Fain said in an update Friday that negotiation progress had been made with Stellantis and General Motors. 

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The actions against Stellantis and GM on back-to-back days may be a bit of a shock based on how talks progressed last week. Fain spoke on Friday and said that all of Detroit's Big Three had offered 23% wage increases over the life of the four-year contract, as well as other concessions from both companies.

"I am happy to report that in the past 24 hours, we have seen serious movement from both Stellantis and General Motors," Fain said on Friday. 

The union president said both companies got the message "loud and clear" after the UAW targeted Ford's Kentucky plant two weeks ago. But any hope of staying off further strikes ended this week.

In response to the latest action, General Motors released a statement saying the company was ‘disappointed’ in the move.

"We are disappointed by the escalation of this unnecessary and irresponsible strike. It is harming our team members who are sacrificing their livelihoods and having negative ripple effects on our dealers, suppliers, and the communities that rely on us. Last week, we provided a comprehensive offer to the UAW that increased the already substantial and historic offers we have made by approximately 25% in total value. It is time for us to finish this process, get our team members back to work and get on with the business of making GM the company that will win and provide great jobs in the U.S. for our people for decades to come," the statement read.

What was in GM's most recent offer to the UAW?

Last week, General Motors' released its latest offer to the UAW, which included a 25% compounded wage increase over the course of the deal.

The offer came out following GM's earlier inclusion of its future battery plants in the UAW's national master agreement that staved off an escalation of strike targets. It also included offers on several components of negotiations, ranging from wages and COLA, to improvements for a faster path to top pay rates for temporary workers and an increase in retirement pensions.

The details of the offer for most employees include: 

  • 25% compounded wage increase. Workers can make up to $84,000 per year
  • The reinstatement of COLA for seniority team members
  • Ratification bonus for all employees
  • $0 healthcare premiums and deductibles for seniority team members
  • Five weeks of vacation, Juneteenth, and two weeks of paid parental leave

For temporary workers, the offer includes:

  • Faster path to top pay
  • Full-time temporary workers with one year of employment will be automatically converted to seniority at ratification.
  • Wage increases by 26%
  • Profit sharing for temporary workers who have worked at least 1,000 hours

Retirement security:

  • Company contributions increased 8% of annual wages
  • Company contributions for healthcare during retirement up to $1.25 per hour worked
  • An increase in the Basic Benefit Rate by 5%

What Detroit's Big Three are offering the UAW

As of last week, Fain said Detroit's Big Three have all made large increases from their original offers when the strike began but they are still far away from a deal. 

The union initially was asking for a 46% pay raise, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay, the tier system removed, and restoration of traditional pensions for new hires, among other demands. However, the union said it is now willing to accept a pay raise percentage in the mid-30s.

Wages - While all three automakers have a 23 percent increase all over four and a half years.

Wage Tiers - Ford has proposed eliminating them at Rawsonville and Sterling, General Motors at GMCH and CCA, and Stellantis at MOPAR.

Wage Progression - Ford is offering a three-year progression over three years to top the rate in place from the mid-90s, GM is offering a three-year progression for current workers but a four-year progression for future hires, and a four-year progression for Stellantis.

COLA - Ford is offering to restore the cost of living to a 2009 level, GM is "approaching restoration, but not fully there," and Stellantis' COLA is "deficient delayed a year."

Profit Sharing - Ford is offering improved profit sharing by moving to total profits including Ford Credit, and temporary employees eligible. General Motors offered to maintain the current profit-sharing formula. Temporary employees with 1,000 hours are eligible. Stellantis would also maintain the current plan but temporary employees not eligible.  

Temps - Ford is offering conversion of current temps with 90 days to full-time. Wage increases to $21 an hour for remaining/future temps. Automatic conversion of future temps still being negotiated. GM is offering conversion of current and future temps with one year to full-time. Wage increases to $21 per hour for remaining and future temps.  Stellantis' proposal is a conversion of 1,000s of current temps to full-time to address abuses of temps by the company. Wage increases to $20 per hour for remaining and future temps. Automatic conversion of future temps still being negotiated. 

UAW: 23% wage increase on table; Fain blasts Ford but progress made with GM, Stellantis

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