There are now 25,000 UAW members on strike
UAW President Shawn Fain expanded the strike by 7,000 workers Friday
As of noon Friday, one-fifth of UAW members are on strike.
UAW President Shawn Fain on Friday expanded the strike to two new facilities: Ford’s Chicago Assembly in Illinois and GM’s Delta Township Assembly in the Lansing area. About 7,000 people work at the two facilities, bringing the total number of strikers to 25,000, Fain said. That’s one in every five of the UAW’s 150,000 members.
The UAW’s strike started Sept. 15 at three facilities, each targeting one of the Big Three automakers: Stellantis’s Wentzville facility in Missouri, GM’s Toledo Assembly in Ohio, and Ford’s Michigan Assembly in Wayne.
Last week, when Fain expanded the strike to 38 parts distributorships, all of the closures affected GM and Stellantis, but Ford was spared.
“Sadly, Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress,” Fain said.
This week, the union is targeting Ford and GM facilities for strikes, while Stellantis was spared. Fain cited “significant progress” on a return of cost of living adjustments, and said he was “excited about this momentum” with that automaker.
Fain apologized for arriving late to his 10 a.m. Facebook Live appearance, citing a “flurry of interest” from automakers as the livestream was to begin.
He described strikers as the modern version of the “Arsenal of Democracy” during World War II, when automakers cranked out military equipment for the American war effort.
“But this war isn’t against some foreign country,” Fain said. “The front lines are right here at home.”
Early in the livestream, Fain referenced President Joe Biden’s Tuesday visit to a Willow Run picket line.
“It was an historic day,” Fain said. “The most powerful man in the world showed up for one reason only: because our solidarity is the most powerful force in the world.”
Later Fain would downplay the effect Biden or even himself would have on negotiations.
“When we set a new course for future generations, it won't be because of any president,” Fain said. “Not the UAW president, not the President of the United States. It will be because ordinary people did extraordinary things.”
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