(The Center Square) – In its third week on strike, United Auto Worker Union President Shawn Fain called on an additional 7,000 members in Michigan and Illinois to strike at noon Eastern time Friday.
Fain called on Lansing Delta Township Assembly and Ford’s Chicago Assembly plant in Illinois to walk out, pushing the total to about 25,000 workers on picket lines.
Last week, Fain expanded the historic strike against two of the Big Three Automakers to 38 parts and distribution locations at General Motors and Stellantis across 20 states.
This week, Fain said Stellantis got a strike pass because of “significant progress” on the 2009 cost of living allowance, the right to strike over plant closures, the right not to cross the picket line, and outsourcing moratoriums.
“We are excited about this momentum with Stellantis and hope it continues,” Fain said in a Friday morning live stream.
This week, the UAW strike attracted President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump to Michigan – the first time in modern history a president has joined a picket line.
“The truth of the matter is you guys, UAW, you saved the automobile industry back in 2008,” Biden told union members. “You made a lot of sacrifices and gave up a lot. And the companies were in trouble. Now they’re doing incredibly well. And you should be doing incredibly well, too.”
Meanwhile, Trump visited Drake Industries, a non-union auto supplier in Clinton Township. There, he said the transition to EVs would leave autoworkers behind.
“Biden’s mandate isn’t a government regulation, it’s a government assassination of your jobs and your industry,” Trump said. “The auto industry is being assassinated…. They’re going to be closing up and they’re going to be building those cars in China and other places. It’s a hit job on Michigan and on Detroit, and that’s not sustainable.”
Fain says Big Three executive pay and profits soared during the pandemic but the UAW says typical workers still face benefit cuts from the 2008 recession.
Fain wants UAW members to receive a 40% raise over four years and a 32-hour workweek with the same wage as a 40-hour workweek.
“General Motors CEO Mary Barra made $29 million last year, yet a newly-hired factory worker factory at Lordstown, Ohio is making $16.50 an hour,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a Facebook live event last month.
Also this week, Ford Motor Co. said it is pausing construction on its $3.5 billion Marshall electric vehicle battery plant subsidized by $1.7 billion.