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UAW plans targeted strikes if labor talks with automakers fail

UAW strike

The United Auto Workers union is planning targeted strikes if labor agreements with Detroit automakers fall through.

The union's current contracts with GM, Ford Motor, and Stellantis will expire on Thursday, September 14.

The UAW will announce the factories holding strikes on the same day if necessary.

Read More: UAW Moves On Wage Demands In Ongoing Talks With Automakers

UAW President Shawn Fain presented this work-stoppage plan during a video call with local union leaders.

Sources said the actions could include picketing more factories if contract agreements are not achieved. 

Fain calls this action a "stand-up" strike, drawing a parallel to the historic 1930s sit-down strike at General Motors in Flint, Michigan. 

Read More: Stellantis Offers 14.5 Percent Pay Raise To UAW To Avert Possible Strike

While the UAW didn't comment on this strategy officially, President Fain would discuss it in more detail during an upcoming livestream.

The union is negotiating four-year labor agreements for approximately 146,000 hourly workers at the car companies' US factories

However, there have been doubts about reaching an agreement before the strike deadline.

The union advocates for a double-digit pay increase, increased paid time off, and the reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments.

Read More: United Auto Workers Union Accuses General Motors And Stellantis Of Not Bargaining In Good Faith

However, the Detroit majors aim to maintain labor cost control and gain more flexibility in staffing their plants, including continued use of temporary workers.

Historically, targeted strikes have concentrated on engine and transmission plants, which supply parts to a broader range of assembly factories. 

The union didn't disclose the specific facilities targeted in this strike.

This approach allows the UAW to minimize the use of its strike fund by deploying fewer workers on picket lines while exerting greater pressure on automakers. 

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Some plants employing around 12,000 workers are significant in supplying transmissions used in North American vehicles.

The UAW possesses an $825 million strike fund to compensate members for lost wages during a strike, providing $500 per week to those on strike.

The automakers have built up their inventories in preparation for a potential strike.

It would provide some buffer to continue selling cars during a work stoppage. 

Stellantis, for instance, had 74 days of unsold inventory at the end of August, Ford had 64 days, and GM had 50 days, with the industry average at 38 days.

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