UAW strikes migrate closer to home: Its impact on local communities


United Auto Workers recently shut down Ford’s largest plant globally, sending 8,700 union members on strike at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant and escalating the union’s four-week strike against the Detroit Three automakers.

As the strike migrates closer to home, Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., said this situation is a moving target that everyone is watching.

“As of right now, this does not have a huge impact locally, but that could change any day now,” he said.

The UAW presented contract demands to the Detroit Three automakers, Ford, GM and Stellantis, in the beginning of August, seeking double-digit pay raises, reinstate cost-of-living adjustments, defined-benefit pensions for all workers, eliminate a tiered system of employment, a 32-hour workweek (with pay for 40 hours), the right to strike over plant closures during the course of the next contract and the unionization of future battery factory employees.

On Sept. 15, the UAW launched simultaneous strikes that halted production of some popular models at three factories owned by GM, Ford and Stellantis.

While counteroffers by all three automakers have been made, they have not been accepted by UAW President Shawn Fain due to lack of demands.

According to an article from The Associated Press, the three Detroit automakers have laid off roughly 4,800 workers at factories that are not among the plants that have been bit by the UAW strikes.

The companies have said the job cuts have occurred mainly at factories that make parts for assembly plants that were closed by strikes. Factories that have been affected by layoffs include Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Indiana and New York.

Plump said as auto parts manufacturers become increasingly affected by this strike, it can create a domino effect, eventually affecting dealerships and automotive shops, where it could be difficult to order parts.

“This has the potential to have some significant ramifications to automotive companies and manufacturers. We are keeping a close watch on this,” he said.

Local factories that could be affected by the UAW strike include Valeo as well as parts manufacturers, including Aisin, Toyota and Cummins.

Indiana Secretary of Commerce David Rosenberg could not comment on the situation but said he hopes all sides come to an agreement as soon as possible.

As of right now, UAW negotiators are expected to turn their talks with Stellantis soon after Ford refused to move further in bargaining.

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