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The United Auto Workers strike is set to expand to over 25,000 workers as the mass walkout against Detroit’s ‘Big Three’ automakers stretches into its third week. 

Striking workers will add a Ford plant in Chicago and a General Motors plant in Michigan to the action, with further strikes already underway also hitting Stellantis. 

UAW President Shawn Fain announced the escalation of the strikes on Friday, two days after former President Donald Trump opted to speak with the protestors rather than attend the second Republican presidential debate. 

The day before also saw President Biden join the picket line – albeit for only 12 minutes – as the 18,000 plus factory workers were given a boost to their demands for increased pay. 

Fain called on 7,000 workers to join the struggle, pointing to a Ford plant in Chicago and a GM plant in Lancing Township, Michigan to be targeted. He cited the visits of the political heavyweights in his speech Friday, insisting that ‘America has our backs.’  

Workers have been on strike at three factories: A Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio; a Ford plant in Detroit that produces Bronco SUVs and Rangers; and a GM plant in Missouri. The crippling factory walkouts have also been bolstered by picket lines at 38 parts distribution centers across 20 states. 

UAW President Shawn Fain declared that ‘America has our backs’ as he announced the automaker strikes are set to expand 

President Biden addresses striking auto workers; he spent 12 minutes on the picket line

The strike began on Sept. 15, when workers struck at one plant each from General Motors, Ford and Stellantis . The UAW did not strike at Ford distribution facilities, citing progress in negotiations.

Before Fain announced the picket line was growing, where he took aim at ‘corporate greed’, talks between the parties had moved forward promisingly. 

He said they were working ‘night and day’ on a new contract, but said his ‘willingness to bargain’ there was ‘no meaningful’ movement and the strike was expanding to the two more companies. 

Fain slammed the automaker negotiators for hoarding record profits, saying the companies were doing ‘incredibly well, so we deserve to do incredibly well too.’ 

Negotiations have stalled over pay increases for weeks, with the union pressing for wages of up to 40 percent higher over four years, coupled with cost-of-living adjustments and extra paid time off. 

The automakers made a counteroffer of around 20 percent increase with extra benefits. While they insist such a deal is historic, the striking bosses argue it is well below what can be afforded given near-record profits in recent years. 

However, he insisted that talks with the automaker executives and the White House remain ‘open,’ despite the breakdown leading Fain to become visibly irate during his Friday press conference. 

UAW workers picket outside of Ford’s Wayne Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michgian on September 26

Donald Trump opted to speak with the protestors rather than attend the second Republican presidential debate

Headed into Friday, about 18,300 UAW members at the Detroit Three were on strike, or about 12% of the 146,000 union members working at the automakers. Strikers have been getting $500 a week from the UAW’s strike fund. 

After initially striking on September 15, the union shut one assembly plant at each of the ‘Detroit Three’, and 38 parts distribution centers at GM and Stellantis. 

After seven days, the union expanded its strikes against GM and Stellantis on September 22, but kept its Ford walkout limited to a single plant due to progress in those talks. The latest expansion has not included Stallantis.  

The union and the companies remain far apart on key economic issues. Fain has stuck with a demand for 40% pay hikes over a four-year contract, a position supported by President Joe Biden during a visit to Detroit on Tuesday. 

The companies have countered with offers of about 20%.

The UAW also is pushing automakers to eliminate the two-tier wage system, under which new hires can earn far less than veterans.

Before calling on an additional 7,000 people to strike, the 18,000 people that were on strike represented around 12 percent of the UAW’s 146,000 members. 

The UAW strike is the first in its 88-year history.  

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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