Los Angeles (US), Oct 23 (EFE).- The United Auto Workers (UAW) announced Monday that 6,800 workers at the Stellantis assembly plant in Michigan have joined the strike that has been in place since Sept. 15 at 44 other Stellantis, General Motors and Ford plants.
The strikes, which already involve more than 40,000 UAW members in the first simultaneous strike at the three major US automakers, now include those responsible for assembling Stellantis’ best-selling pickup truck, the RAM-500 model, the UAW said in a statement.
Stellantis owns the RAM, Dogde, Jeep, Fiat, Maserati and Peugeot brands, among others.
According to the union, Stellantis has the “the highest profits (North American and global), the highest profit margins,” but still “lags behind Ford and General Motors” in its workers’ demands for “wage progression, temporary worker pay and conversion to full-time, cost-of-living adjustments.”
The move comes just days after UAW President Shawn Fain outlined the automakers’ current proposals and highlighted the shortcomings of the Stellantis offer.
The unionist also criticized a speech Monday by Ford CEO Bill Ford, in which the great-grandson of the company’s founder warned that UAW demands could lead to plant closures and threaten the automaker’s survival.
“Bill Ford went to the Rouge to talk the same old talk about staying sustainable and competitive. He said if the workers get their share of economic justice he would have to close plants like the Rouge, We took those comments seriously,” Fain said.
The Ford River Rouge complex in Michigan is Ford’s largest factory and a landmark of historical importance for the company.
Fain acknowledged that the three companies have made proposals that improve economic and working conditions to unprecedented levels, but added that the reason is that “they come at the end of decades of record decline” and that “it’s not enough to be the best ever, when auto workers have gone backwards over the last two decades. That’s a very low bar”.
The strike began on Sept. 15 with a walkout at three assembly plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. It has since spread to seven assembly plants and 38 parts distribution centers in 22 states.
On Oct. 11, the UAW launched a new phase of the strike with surprise walkouts at Ford’s truck plant in Kentucky, where 8,700 UAW members walked off the job without notice. EFE