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Workers strike at all three Detroit automakers enters third day

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union 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. (Photo by AFP)

The strike led by the United Auto Workers against the Detroit Three automakers is about to enter its third day on Sunday, with no immediate resolution in sight. 

The UAW, which represents nearly 150,000 autoworkers, started a strike early on Friday morning to pressure the big three automakers—General Motors (GM), Ford and Stellantis—into raising wages.

Nearly 13,000 workers walked out of three auto plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio after the prior four-year labor agreements expired Thursday, and the companies and the union remained far from striking new deals. This is the first time the UAW has gone on strike against all three automakers simultaneously.

The most ambitious US industrial labor action in decades has halted production at three plants producing the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and Chevrolet Colorado, along with other popular models.

The United Auto Workers chief, Shawn Fain said workers could strike at more plants if the companies don’t come up with better offers.  The workers are seeking across-the-board wage increases of 36% over four years, while the companies have countered by offering increases ranging from 17.5% to 20%.strike

Negotiators for the UAW and Ford had "reasonably productive discussions" toward a new contract on Saturday, the union said, while Chrysler-parent Stellantis said it hiked its offer, proposing raises of 20% over a four-and-a-half-year contract term, including an immediate 10% hike. That matched proposals from GM and Ford.

The UAW is set to resume talks with GM on Sunday, and Stellantis and Ford on Monday.

Ford announced on Friday that it was indefinitely laying off 600 workers at a Michigan plant due to the strike's impact, while GM informed around 2,000 workers at a Kansas car plant that their factory would likely shut down on Monday or Tuesday due to a lack of parts caused by the strike at a GM Missouri plant.

In addition to higher wages, the UAW is also demanding shorter workweeks, the restoration of defined benefit pensions, and stronger job security as automakers make the electric vehicles shift.

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