© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person carries a flag with the patch from the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union during a May Day rally for media workers held by The NewsGuild of New York on International Workers’ Day in Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S., May 1,
By Joseph White
DETROIT (Reuters) -The United Auto Workers (UAW) union said on Thursday workers would walk off the job at three Detroit Three factories at midnight, barring a last-minute agreement, setting up the most ambitious U.S. industrial labor action in decades.
UAW President Shawn Fain laid out plans for the unprecedented, simultaneous walkouts at General Motors (NYSE:), Ford (NYSE:) and Chrysler parent Stellantis (NYSE:)’ U.S. operations in a Facebook (NASDAQ:) Live address less than two hours before the expiration of the old contract.
The strikes will take place at Ford’s Bronco assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, GM’s mid-sized pickup truck assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri and Stellantis’ Jeep assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio. They are critical to the production of some of the Detroit Three’s most profitable vehicles.
“For the first time in our history we will strike all three of the Big Three,” Fain said.
He said he would join the picket line at the Wayne plant when the action began at midnight and did not rule out broadening the strikes beyond the initial three targets.
“If we need to go all out, we will.”
A long UAW strike threatens to spread economic turmoil as suppliers and other industries that depend on automakers and their workers see demand dry up. The standoff has become a political issue with President Joe Biden, facing re-election next year, prominently calling for a deal.
The Detroit Three have held simultaneous talks with the union, which represents almost 150,000 workers. Union leaders this week described the sides as far apart and have signaled for months that they would not hesitate to shut down Motor City. The union said it wants a 40% raise and companies have offered up to 20%, without key benefits demanded by the union.
The UAW has a strike fund of $825 million.