Proposals from the big three automakers haven’t addressed 80% of UAW member demands, UAW President Shawn Fain said following a UAW rally on Friday.
“80% of our demands, 80% of our member demands were left off of their proposals, they fall way short of where they need to be,” Fain said.
Strikes at more plants are possible, Fain added, citing the ongoing negotiations.
“It could be in a day, it could be in a week, it just depends on how things progress or don’t progress,” he said.
CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich told Fain that Ford announced they will lay off 600 workers and GM will idle about 2,000 workers starting next week. Yurkevich asked if they will get strike pay given some of those individuals are not eligible for supplemental pay from the companies and some may not be eligible for unemployment, either.
“Our members are going to be taken care of, no matter what happens,” Fain said. “We have their back and they have our back.”
Yurkevich pressed for more details on how, financially, the workers would be taken care of but Fain didn’t provide an answer.
Fain was asked if the Biden administration would help or hurt the union’s cause.
“I’m not worried about the Biden administration right now, this is our job, this is our fight,” he said.
“We have been very clear about our demands and if the companies don’t come to the pump and deliver for these members and give them their fair share of economic and social justice, we’ll amp up the pressure, we’ll take more plants out.”
- CNN’s Kate Trafecante and Maria Sole Campinoti contributed to this alert
At a rally for UAW workers in downtown Detroit, Sen. Bernie Sanders voiced his support for the workers on strike and said salary increases were necessary due to growing income inequality in the US.
"All of you know that there was once a time when a union job in the automobile industry was the gold standard for the working class in America. Well, we are determined to bring those days back again," Sanders said.
Sanders pushed back against those who have said the autoworkers' strike would damage the US economy.
"Let me tell you something about the economy. When you have auto workers who cannot afford to buy the cars they make, that is bad for the economy," he said. "It is totally reasonable for auto workers to finally receive a fair share of the record-breaking profits that their labor has produced."
According to Anderson Economic Group, a 10-day strike against the Big Three could cost the US economy $5 billion.
During the rally, Sanders also addressed the CEOs of General Motors, Stellantis and Ford by name, telling them it was "time to end your greed."
"It is time for you to treat your employees with the respect and dignity they deserve. It is time to sit down and negotiate a fair contract," Sanders said.
The United Auto Workers' targeted strikes stopped production of all midsized pickups by three domestic automakers. The move could give a head start to Toyota's newly redesigned Tacoma truck, a new report from S&P Global Mobility points out.
At the same time, though, the strikes at least didn't take out the automakers' far more important and popular full-sized trucks, like the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado.
Among mid-sized trucks, the Toyota Tacoma has long been the best selling model, but other automakers have been trying to make gains in that market segment. Ford had just started production of a redesigned Ranger pickup when the strike was called. GM had also introduced redesigned versions of its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsized trucks for the 2023 model year. Stellantis had just unveiled a new, updated version of its Jeep Gladiator pickup a couple of days before these strikes were announced. The updated Gladiator was supposed to go on sale by the end of this year.
For its part, Toyota had unveiled its own fully redesigned Tacoma last May. The new Tacoma is expected to go into production in November.
These production disruptions could be "potentially handing segment-leading Toyota an inventory advantage," according to S&P. But, by leaving the big trucks alone for now, the UAW could be saving a much bigger punch for later, said S&P's Stephanie Brinley.
General Motors told workers at its Fairfax plant in Kansas that the factory would soon run out of parts due to the UAW's targeted strike of its Wentzville, Missouri plant.
"Currently, the Wentzville Team is providing critical stampings to Fairfax. Due to the strike's impact on Wentzville operations, we anticipate running out of parts for Fairfax as soon as early next week," an internal memo sent Friday said.
On Friday, UAW workers walked out of three plants – one from each of the Big Three automakers, including Ford and Stellantis as well. GM's strike began at its Wentzville, Missouri plant, which has 3,600 UAW members on staff.
In a statement to CNN, General Motors said that it was "unfortunate that the UAW leadership's decision to call a strike at Wentzville Assembly has already had a negative ripple effect, with GM's Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas and its 2,000 team members expected to be idled as soon as early next week."
Ford told about 600 workers at the truck plant in Wayne, Michigan, where the paint and final assembly department is on strike, not to report to work Friday. It's one of three plants where UAW members are on strike.
Ford spokesperson Jessica Enoch said that since the company's production system is "highly interconnected," the targeted strike at the paint department "will have knock-on effects for facilities that are not directly targeted for a work stoppage."
The carmaker said its decision affected about 600 workers in the "body construction department and south sub-assembly area of integrated stamping."
The union is on strike for better pay and benefits and more time off; the companies have argued they can't afford the union's demands. Both sides have blamed each other for the work stoppages.
"This is not a lockout. This layoff is a consequence of the strike at Michigan Assembly Plant’s final assembly and paint departments, because the components built by these 600 employees use materials that must be e-coated for protection. E-coating is completed in the paint department, which is on strike," Enoch said.
Automotive plants shut down by striking United Auto Workers could lose production of up to 25,000 vehicles, analysts said.
The Anderson Economic Group based its unit loss estimates on 10 days of shut down production, using 2023 plant production data.
The Stellantis plant in Toledo, Ohio, had the most severe potential production losses of 11,000 to 13,000 Jeep Gladiators and Jeep Wranglers.
GM's Wentzville Plant in Missouri could potentially lose 7,000 to 8,000 vehicles rolling off the line. Those include the Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Express, GMC Canyon and GMC Savana.
Ford's plant in Wayne, Michigan, could lose 2,400 to 4,000 units of Ford Broncos and Ford Rangers.
Shares of Detroit's Big Three automakers largely closed Friday higher, despite the start of a historic strike from the United Auto Workers union.
Ford shares dipped 0.08%, Stellantis gained 1.9% and General Motors added 0.9%.
While it's unclear how long the strike will last, some economists say it's too early to ring alarm bells.
"The impact from the current strike activity on the monthly job numbers or quarterly GDP numbers would be negligible, even if the strike lasts for a few weeks," said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial.
Shares of Toyota rose 2.7%, while shares of Tesla lost 0.6% in a broader tech sell-off on Friday.
As stocks settle after the trading day, levels might change slightly.
Across the United States, United Auto Workers union members began their historic strike against the Big Three. Here's what the first day of the strike looked like on the picket lines: