Strike commences at major US motor industry giants

The United Autoworkers Union reports that employees at three of America's largest automakers have begun a strike. Three plants owned by General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis have ceased operations.

It occurred after Thursday night's expiration of labor contracts. The UAW stated that the companies' proposals were unacceptable.

The conflict threatens to result in higher prices for consumers and significant disruption for the automotive industry's titans. UAW president Shawn Fain stated that for the first time in the union's history, all three of the Big Three will be on strike.

The strike began at 12 a.m. eastern time at the GM Wentzville mid-size truck plant, the Ford Bronco factory in Michigan, and the Stellantis-owned Toledo Jeep plant.

The facilities are essential to the production of some of the most profitable vehicles manufactured by the "Detroit Three."

The UAW stated that other facilities will continue to operate, but did not rule out expanding the strikes beyond the initial three targets. Ford stated that the UAW presented its first "substantive" counterproposal a few hours before the current agreement expired.

"Unfortunately, the UAW's counterproposal tonight demonstrated little movement from the union's initial demands," the report stated.

Thursday evening, as the deadline approached, the White House reported that President Joe Biden had discussed the negotiations by phone with Mr. Fain, but provided no additional information.

The union requested a 40% pay increase over four years for its approximately 140,000 members, citing a similar increase in compensation for company executives.

Other conditions included: A four-day workweek, the return of automatic pay increases tied to inflation, and stricter limits on how long workers can be designated "temporary" without receiving union benefits.

The negotiations between the two parties, which began in July, were tense from the start, with Mr. Fain refusing to clasp hands with executives as is customary to begin negotiations. 97% of members voted to authorize a strike last month.

Mr. Fain stated that as of Wednesday, the three companies had increased their initial proposals, with Ford offering about 20% increase in compensation over the duration of the contract, GM offering 18%, and Stellantis, the owner of Jeep and Chrysler, offering 17.5%.

After years of record profits, workers asserted that firms could afford to be more generous. Paul Raczka, an employee at a Stellantis factory in Michigan that manufactures Jeep Grand Cherokees, stated, "I believe we deserve this."

Jim Farley, Ford's chief executive officer, told reporters earlier this week that he hoped to avoid a strike, but that the company was willing to concede only so much.

According to estimates by the Anderson Economic Group, a 10-day strike by all employees at the three firms could cost the automakers nearly $1bn (£800m) and workers nearly $900m in lost wages.

As the effects of the strike spread, the total economic impact could exceed $5 billion, according to the report.

Vice-president of the company Tyler Theile stated that a protracted stoppage would be required to affect national economic indicators.

The last time the automobile industry confronted a strike was in 2019, when General Motors employees went on strike for six weeks.