The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike is expanding, as the union announced this week that its members at several more General Motors (GM) and Ford plants will lay down their tools. The strike’s growth also follows high-profile visits earlier this week and could be an early battleground of the 2024 election.
The strike was set to begin on Friday at noon at two Ford and GM plants. The closures at the Chicago Assembly plant in Illinois run by Ford and GM’s Lansing Delta Township plant in Michigan could increase pressure on the large automakers to strike a deal with the workers.
The union is requesting increases in pay and retirement benefits, as well as a request to be paid for five days of work with four days on the line.
The expansion of the strike will now bring in 7,000 more workers to the picket lines. The decision was announced by UAW President Shawn Fain. Fain insisted that negotiations with the large auto producers had not hit a snag, but that contract negotiations had not progressed far, either.
UAW expands auto strike against GM, Ford locations – https://t.co/ObRxYrpzqa
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) September 29, 2023
This expansion of the strike represents the second escalation by the auto workers. Prior to this recent decision, the work shutdown was previously expanded at GM and Stellantis, formerly Chrysler, facilities.
Stellantis was spared from the recent strike growth, with Fain saying that the company “made significant progress on the 2009 cost of living allowance, the right not to cross a picket line as well as the right to strike over product commitments and plant closures and outsourcing moratoriums.”
The news comes after two high-profile visits to the striking autoworkers. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden visited striking workers in Michigan for less than 20 minutes. The following day, former President Donald Trump received a warm welcome at a facility.
Both Biden and Trump declared their support for the workers, setting up a potential political battle in the key swing state of Michigan.
In particular, Trump expressed fears that the autoworkers would lose hours or jobs due to Biden’s policies, especially surrounding electric cars. Trump said that the workers may wind up losing out because of electric car production in China.