A Ford sign at a Ford Transit center in London, Britain, 14 February 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/ANDY RAIN

US car union calls for midnight strikes at 3 plants as contract deadline nears

Washington, Sep 14 (EFE).- The United Auto Workers (UAW) union announced that it will strike at three US assembly plants of General Motors (GM), Ford Motor and Stellantis if an agreement is not reached with the companies before midnight.

UAW President Shawn Fein made the announcement at 10 pm on Thursday, two hours before the deadline.

“For the first time in our history, we will strike all three of the ‘Big Three’ at once,” Fein said in remarks livestreamed on Facebook.

“We are using a new strategy, the ‘stand-up’ strike. We will call on select facilities, locals or units to stand up and go on strike,” he added.

The strikes will take place at GM’s assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, Ford’s site in Michigan and Stellantis’ facilities in Toledo, Ohio.

“The locals that are not yet called to join a stand-up strike will continue working under an expired agreement…This strategy will keep the companies guessing. It will give our national  negotiators maximum leverage and flexibility and bargaining,” Fein said.

Fein urged the unions’ nearly 150,000 workers to show the companies that they were ready to join the strike “at a moment’s notice.”

Since July, the UAW and the three major US carmakers have been negotiating a new contract agreement for the next four years.

The union is seeking wage hikes of 46 percent over four years, better pensions, a 32-hour workweek and the unionization of workers in battery plants.

Ford and GM have offered 20 percent wage increases spread over the next four years, and the UAW has accused the companies of not taking the negotiations seriously.

The last strike in the sector occurred four years ago during the negotiation of the existing agreement that expires at 11:59 pm on Thursday.

At that time, 49,000 GM workers walked out for 40 days, costing the company $3.6 billion. EFE