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Ford has announced another round of autoworker layoffs as the crippling UAW strike stretches into its third week. 

The car giant notified around 350 workers at the Livonia Transmission Plant and a further 50 at Sterling Axle Plant, both in Michigan, not to come back to work ‘until further notice’ on Wednesday. 

The layoffs bring the total number of people let go by Ford due to the strikes to around 1,330 workers, with 330 redundancies also announced just days prior in Chicago and Lima, Ohio

General Motors and Stellantis, the other two of Detroit’s ‘Big Three’ currently facing the UAW strikes, have joined Ford in the mass layoffs. With further sackings expected, GM has let go of over 2,100 workers across four states, and Stellantis has laid off almost 370. 

As the picket lines grow to over 25,000 workers, an analysis by Michigan economic consulting firm Anderson Economic Group found the strikes have already cost the US economy almost $4 billion. 

Ford said Wednesday that it was laying off 350 workers at the Livonia Transmission Plant in Michigan (pictured) in the latest round of mass redundancies in response to the UAW strikes

A further 35 workers were told not to report for work ‘until further notice’ at the Sterling Axle Plant in Michigan, with GM and Stellantis also joining in the layoffs as the strikes near the one-month mark 

UAW workers march through the streets of downtown Detroit following a rally on the first day of the UAW strike in Detroit, Michigan, on September 15, 2023

Ford’s decision to let more people go on Wednesday came after it made its seventh contract offer to the UAW on Monday, which it branded the ‘strongest’ yet.

The manufacturer’s desperation to end the strikes saw it offer workers ‘unprecedented improvements in wages’ that would put staff among the top 25 percent of all US earners. 

‘Ford has received two comprehensive counteroffers from the UAW, the last on Sept. 25. Ford’s latest offer provides our 57,000 UAW-represented employees with a record contract and a strong future,’ the company said at the time. 

But the two sides appear to still be far apart in negotiations, with UAW chiefs consistently claiming the automakers are hoarding their record profits while Ford executives blamed the strikes on their reason for a further round of layoffs.

‘Our production system is highly interconnected, which means the UAW’s targeted strike strategy has knock-on effects for facilities that are not directly targeted for work stoppage,’ Ford spokesman Dan Barbossa told the Detroit Free Press, explaining why the layoffs aren’t necessarily at the same sites as picket lines. 

‘These are not lockouts. These layoffs are a consequence of the strike at Chicago Assembly Plant, because these two facilities must reduce production of parts that would normally be shipped (there).’ 

Last month, UAW president Shawn Fain said that the mass-layoffs tactic was intended to ‘put the squeeze on our members to settle for less.’ 

UAW members striking at the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Plant in Ohio. According to a recent study, the strikes have so far lost over $325 million in direct wages 

Workers stand on the picket line outside the General Motors Lansing Delta Plant in Michigan

The Chicago Assembly plant cited by Barbossa has seen 4,613 workers strike since September 29, who would normally be producing Ford Explorers, Police Interceptors and Lincoln Aviators, which have all been halted. 

The day before the layoffs were announced, Terry Chitwood, president of UAW Local 182, told union membership that he had sat down with officials to detail the redundancy process at the Livonia Transmission Plant. 

In a setback, he told members that found themselves out of the job that they would not qualify for unemployment benefits, and would rely on strike assistance from the UAW. 

‘We are continuing to work with all parties involved to make this as smooth as a transition as possible,’ Chitwood wrote in a memo initially obtained by the Detroit Free Press. 

According to insiders who spoke to the outlet, Ford is also indicating that it may look to make further layoffs at the Cleveland Engine Plant in Ohio. 

The company has also warned about a ripple effect into its auto parts suppliers due to the ongoing strikes plaguing supply chains.

‘We understand to date there are about 2,400 supplier employees that have been laid off,’ Liz Door, Ford’s chief supply chain officer, said last week. 

Door cautioned that unless a deal is struck, the number of people to lose their jobs could be ‘anywhere between 325,000 and 500,000 employees.’  

UAW President Shawn Fain declared that ‘America has our backs’ as he announced the automaker strikes were expanding to over 25,000 workers last week

Fain leaned on a historic visit from President Biden as he escalated the strike action 

The strikes found their way to the epicenter of American politics, with Donald Trump opting to speak with the protestors rather than attend the second Republican presidential debate

The mass marching orders come in response to UAW chief Shawn Fain’s announcement last week that the strikes would expand by a further 7,000 people, bringing the total on the picket lines to a staggering 25,000 workers.

Fain leaned on the historic visit from President Biden, who became the first sitting president to join a picket line days prior on September 26, as he declared the strike was expanding because ‘America has our backs.’ 

The strikes found their way into the epicenter of American politics last week, as former President Donald Trump also opted to speak to the striking autoworkers rather than attend the second Republican presidential debate.

As he called on workers to join the strikes at certain factories in Chicago and Michigan, Fain slammed negotiators for prioritizing ‘corporate greed.’ 

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

He said the UAW were working ‘night and day’ on a new contract, but despite a ‘willingness to bargain’ there was ‘no meaningful’ movement – leading the strike to expand to two more factories at the time. 

In August, when the strike action was threatened but was an increasing reality, estimates by the Anderson Economic Group placed the cost of even a 10-day, union-wide strike at $5.6 billion loss to the economy. 

Strikers protest on the picket line on the day U.S. President Joe Biden joined them outside the GM’s Willow Run Distribution Center, in Belleville, Wayne County, Michigan, on September 26, 2023

UAW protestors picket outside of Ford’s Wayne Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan on September 26

Complaints over the automakers’ raking in record profits while contesting higher wages for workers have mounted as layoffs continue.

General Motors blamed the picket lines as the number of its employees who have been laid off topped 2,100, with the strike also recently expanding to GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant in Delta Michigan.

‘It is unfortunate the UAW’s decision to call a strike at GM Lansing Delta Township Assembly continues to have negative ripple effects,’ GM said in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday, as it confirmed the next round of redundancies. 

‘The impacted team members are not expected to return until the strike has been resolved. 

‘Since we are working under an expired labor agreement, there are no provisions for company-provided sub-pay in this circumstance.’ 

On Tuesday, the automaker reported a 21 percent increase in sales in its third quarter earnings. 

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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