Battle with the Big 3 auto companies is on as UAW strikes all three in historic first

Striking auto workers speaking with UAW President Shawn Fain outside the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant. SLL photo: Cheryl LaBash

September 15 — At midnight, United Auto Workers struck the Big Three companies — Ford, GM, and Stellanis — in what is being called a “Stand Up Strike.”  Striking at all three companies simultaneously is a historic first for the auto workers union.  

In a letter to union members and supporters, UAW President Shawn Fain announced, 

“A few minutes ago, thousands of UAW members at Ford, GM, and Stellantis walked out, marking the beginning of the Stand Up Strike.

  • UAW members at GM Wentzville Assembly, Local 2250 in Region 4 are ON STRIKE.  
  • UAW members at Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex, Local 12 in Region 2B are ON STRIKE.
  • UAW members at Ford Michigan Assembly Plant – Final Assembly and Paint, Local 900 in Region 1A are ON STRIKE. 

“This fight is our generation’s defining moment. Not just at the Big Three, but across the entire working class.” 

UAW President Fain immediately left the bargaining table to join the 3,000-plus workers at the Michigan Ford Assembly Plant.  Altogether, 13,000 workers are on strike: 3,300 at Ford ln Michigan; 3,600 at GM at Wentzville, Missouri; and 5,800 at Stellantis at the Toledo Jeep complex in Ohio.

The “stand up strikes” are targeted strikes which auto industry expert Jeff Schuster from GlobalData described, “One engine or transmission location per company might be enough to shut down nearly three-quarters of the U.S. assembly plants. Two plants per company, you can pretty much idle North America.”

The advantage for the union is it saves on the strike funds, giving the workers an edge in holding on longer and keeping the companies questioning where the next strike will occur.

The CEOs are ratcheting up their anti-union rhetoric, which seems to be failing — a recent CNN poll proclaims that 75% of the public side with the workers.

In a recent interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, UAW President Shawn Fain responded to the company’s claims that a workers’ strike would drive up car prices: “In the last four years, the price of cars went up 30%. [Automakers] CEO pay went up 40%. No one said a word. No one had any complaints about that, but God forbid the workers ask for their fair share,” 

Fain proclaimed, “It’s not [that] we’ll wreck the economy. We’ll wreck their economy, the economy that only works for the billionaire class and not the working class.”

The question on everyone’s minds is, will this strike and the “summer of strikes” be a historic turning point for workers, ending the long period of givebacks and retreats?

Tonight, auto workers and their supporters will converge in downtown Detroit. 

For details on demands, see: Class struggle is back! 150,000 auto workers poised to strike

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