DETROIT (FOX 2) - About 25,000 UAW members at Big Three facilities around the country are on strike Monday morning.
Friday, 7,000 union members at Ford Chicago Assembly Plant and GM Lansing Delta Assembly were called to join the strike. These facilities joined a list of 41 other facilities already on strike.
"Sadly, despite our willingness to bargain, Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress at the table," UAW President Shawn Fain said.
The union is holding a stand-up strike, meaning that it adds more members to the picket line as negotiations continue. The strike started with one Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors facility striking. After week one, the UAW added 38 GM and Stellantis plants. Ford was spared the first round of additions but was the target of the UAW last week.
Stellantis released a statement Friday, saying in part that "we have made progress in our discussions, but gaps remain. We are committed to continue working through these issues in an expeditious manner to reach a fair and responsible agreement that gets everyone back to work as soon as possible."
During a press conference after more Ford and GM plants were added to the strike list, Ford President and CEO Jim Farley argued that future battery plants are an issue for the UAW.
"I believe we can reach a compromise on pay and benefits, but so far the UAW is holding the deal hostage over battery plants," he said. "I need to be clear about one thing because the UAW is scaring our workers by repeating something that is factually not true, none of our workers today are going to lose their jobs due to our battery plants during this contract period or even beyond this contract."
GM's President Mary Barra also responded to the strike expansion through a statement:
"As we saw this week, UAW leadership continues to expand the strike while upping the rhetoric and the theatrics. It’s clear that there is no real intent to get to an agreement.
"Since negotiations started this summer, we’ve been available to bargain 24/7 on behalf of our represented team members and our company. They’ve demanded a record contract – and that’s exactly what we’ve offered for weeks now: a historic contract with record wage increases, record job security and world-class healthcare. It’s an offer that rewards our team members but does not put our company and their jobs at risk. Jeopardizing our future is something I will not do.
"By their own admission, the UAW leadership’s plan from the beginning has been to drag their membership into a long, unnecessary strike to further their own personal and political agendas. Their leaked text messages from last week stated their plan to keep us "wounded for months" and cause "recurring reputations [sic] damage and operational chaos."
"It is clear Shawn Fain wants to make history for himself, but it can’t be to the detriment of our represented team members and the industry. Serious bargaining happens at the table, not in public, with two parties who are willing to roll up their sleeves to get a deal done. The UAW is pitting the companies against one another, but it’s a strategy that ultimately only helps the non-union competition.
"We need the UAW leadership at the bargaining table with the clear intent of reaching an agreement now. For them to do otherwise is putting our collective future at stake. My job is to build a thriving and successful company for decades to come – one with great products for our consumers built by the best manufacturing team on the planet and supported by an ecosystem of dealers and suppliers, all of whom contribute meaningfully to the economy."