COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
As of midnight Thursday, about 13,000 members of the United Auto Workers Union have gone on strike against the Big Three auto companies after their leaders did not meet their demands.
This is the first time the unions 88 years of establishment, which consists of about 145,000 workers, have gone on strike against all three of Detroit's automakers.
Some of the demands asked by the union include a 36% pay raise over the course of four years, reinstating pension benefits and increases, more paid time off, and the introduction of a four day work week.
One of the most important demands workers are asking for is for the company to get rid of their two-tier wage system, which pays more money and provides more benefits for workers doing the same job as their lower-earning coworkers.
According to the Associated Press, currently there are three plants on strike, with one being a General Motors assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri. The other two include a Ford factory in Wayne, Michigan and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio.
However, according to the UAW the strike could expand to other plants and increase the number of workers on strike.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra said in a letter to workers on Thursday, the company is offering historic wage increases with GM and Ford offering 20% and Stellantis offering 17.5%. However, proved to be not enough as workers continued on with the strike.
UAW President Shawn Fain said the union had their demands ready six weeks in advance, but CEO's waited too long to respond.
"We had to file unfair labor practice charges on two companies to get them to come to the table. So they waited till the last week to want to get down to business, said Fain. "Shame on them. And what they’re saying is BS.”
Global Data research firm member Jeff Schuster says the companies has enough inventory to last well over a month. However, if the strike lasts a while it could begin to impact car dealers and cause them to cut back on inventory and potentially increase the price of vehicles.
The UAW currently has a $825 million strike fund. If all workers do end up going on strike, that fund will only last about 11 weeks. According to UAW stretegy, each worker on strike will get $500 a week, while employees who continue to work will make their full pay.
President Biden is expected to make a statement sometime on Friday regarding contract negotiations on the current situation.
Stellantis made a statement early Friday saying they have immediately gone into contingency mode and will remain in operation regardless of the strike.
It is unclear how long the strike will last.
Check back later for more updates.