The United Auto Workers (UAW) union said the two-week strike against automakers in Detroit will spread to a Ford factory in Chicago and a General Motors plant in Lansing, Michigan with 7,000 more members joining the strike.
Union President Shawn Fain told workers on a video appearance Friday that negotiations haven’t broken down but Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress.
Jeep maker Stellantis was spared from the third round of strikes due to meeting some of the unions demands.
The GM plant near Lansing, makes large crossover SUVs such as the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave.
The Chicago Ford plant makes the Ford Explorer and Explorer Police Interceptors, as well as the Lincoln Aviator SUV.
“Sadly, despite our willingness to bargain, Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress at the table,” Fain said in explaining the two new strike locations.
Fain said union bargainers are still talking to all three companies. “I’m still very hopeful that we can reach a deal that reflects the incredible sacrifices and contributions that our members have made over the last decade,” he said.
Stellantis, he said, made significant progress by agreeing to undisclosed cost-of-living pay raises.
“We are excited about this momentum at Stellantis and hope it continues,” Fain said. “Our strategy is working.”
Fain said union leaders knew the fight with the companies would be difficult. “We knew that it was unlikely that this would be quick,” he said of the strikes.
“We continue to stand ready and willing to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that benefits you and doesn’t let the non-union manufacturers win,” Johnson wrote, calling the counter offer a record proposal with historic wage increases and job security.
The union’s demands include a 46% wage increase, restoration of traditional pensions, cost-of-living increases, reducing the workweek to 32 hours from 40 and increasing retiree benefits.
The auto companies claim they cannot meet the union demands due to needing to invest profits in the transition from gas to electric vehicles.