As the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike enters its sixth day, the Big Three automakers—Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis—are beginning to furlough workers.
GM announced on Sept. 20 that it idled a manufacturing plant in Kansas, laying off nearly all of the site’s roughly 2,000 employees. The company noted that there’s no work available for most of the workers at the assembly plant because UAW-represented members at another GM factory went on strike.
The carmaker also noted that it can’t offer supplemental unemployment benefits because of “the specific circumstances of this situation.”
“It is unfortunate that the UAW leadership’s decision to call a strike at Wentzville Assembly has already had a negative ripple effect, with GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas being idled today and most of its represented team members leaving the plant as there is no work available,” GM said in a statement.
The Buick and Chevrolet maker has presented a counterproposal to the union, submitting a “record” offer last week of a 20 percent wage increase. But UAW President Shawn Fain has stated that it wasn’t enough.
“As the past has clearly shown, nobody wins in a strike,” Mr. Reuss wrote. “We have delivered a record offer. That is a fact. It rightly rewards our team members, while positioning the company for success in the future. Often in these situations, the clouds of rhetoric can obscure reality.”
He added that the UAW’s full demands are “untenable” and would prevent the company from investing in the future.
“Our competitors across the country and around the world, most of whom are non-union, will waste no time seizing the opportunity we would be handing them,” Mr. Reuss added.
Representatives of General Motors told The Epoch Times:
Representatives of General Motors told The Epoch Times: “It is unfortunate that the UAW leadership’s decision to call a strike at Wentzville Assembly has already had a negative ripple effect, with GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas being idled today and most of its represented team members leaving the plant as there is no work available. This is due to a shortage of critical stampings supplied by Wentzville’s stamping operations to Fairfax. The team members at Fairfax are not expected to return until the situation has been resolved. Due to the specific circumstances of this situation, impacted employees are not eligible for company-provided SUB-pay.
“Fairfax Assembly employees approximately 2,000 represented team members.
Stellantis’s FurloughsStellantis, which makes the Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram brands, confirmed to The Epoch Times on Sept. 20 that it expects to temporarily lay off 370 employees because of UAW strike action at the Toledo Assembly Complex due to “storage constraints.”
The move affects workers at the Toledo Machining Plant in Ohio and the Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo Casting facilities in Indiana.
“As a consequence of the strike action at the Toledo Assembly Complex (TAC), Stellantis confirms that it will immediately temporarily lay off 68 employees at the Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg, Ohio, due to storage constraints. All other production at this facility continues,” said Jodi Tinson, a Stellantis spokesman.
“In addition, we anticipate similar actions at Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo Casting in Kokomo, Indiana, affecting an estimated 300 employees at these two facilities. Stellantis continues to closely monitor the impact of the UAW strike action on our manufacturing operations.”
The automaker has proposed a 14.5 percent general wage increase over four years, inflation-protection payments, and a Juneteenth paid holiday.
The UAW thinks it is a “deeply unfair offer.”
Ford LayoffsA day after UAW workers walked off the job, Ford announced a round of temporary layoffs, affecting 600 employees at the Michigan Assembly Plant’s body construction department and south sub-assembly area of integrated stamping.
The automaker warned that the strike would produce “knock-on effects” for other parts of the company’s supply chain. This would force Ford to close down various manufacturing locations.
“This is not a lockout. This layoff is a consequence of the strike at Michigan Assembly Plant’s final assembly and paint departments because the components built by these 600 employees use materials that must be e-coated for protection. E-coating is completed in the paint department, which is on strike,” Ford said in a statement.
Since Aug. 29, Ford has presented four counterproposals to union leadership. CEO Jim Farley recently warned that agreeing to all of the UAW’s demands, such as a 40 percent pay raise and new pension benefits, could force the automaker into bankruptcy.
Bracing for Broader StrikeMr. Fain confirmed in a video message posted to social media on Sept. 18 that the union’s strike could expand if “serious progress” isn’t made in contract negotiations with the Detroit Three.
“That will mark more than a week since our first members walked out. And that will mark more than a week of the Big Three failing to make progress in negotiations toward reaching a deal that does right by our members,” Mr. Fain said.
“Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the ‘Big Three.’ We’re not waiting around, and we’re not messing around.”
The deadline for greater progress in contract talks is Sept. 22 at noon.
Mr. Fain also denounced the automakers’ decisions to idle people who aren’t on strike, accusing them of “trying to put the squeeze on our members to settle for less.”