DETROIT, Mich. (WANE) With the 11:59 p.m. Thursday strike deadline approaching, UAW President Shawn Fain released a YouTube video explaining the strategy the union will use if workers end up hitting the picket line. Approximately 4,000 UAW members are employed at the Fort Wayne GM Assembly where GMC and Chevrolet full-size pickups are manufactured.
On Wednesday, Fain made it clear the UAW would strike all three Detroit automakers; Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. It would be the first time in the union’s existence that all three would be targeted.
The UAW got its start in 1937 when workers at GM plants in Flint, Michigan held “sit down strikes.” Eventually the automaker gave in to demands, resulting in the birth of the UAW.
In Thursday’s YouTube video, Fain said the union is returning to its roots and launching a new kind of strike, called the “Stand Up Strike.” It starts small and builds over time.
“This is a strike that keeps the companies guessing as to where and when the next local will walk out,” said Fain in the video.
Fain said the goal of the UAW is not to strike, but to bargain for a fair contract. If necessary the union will shut down Ford, GM, and Stellantis in order to get what it deserves.
Fain ended the video by stating, “Let’s stand up and once again make history together.”
Locally, UAW 2209 is considering options for what may happen as the “sit down” strike is a new method for the union group.
“I strongly believe and I’ve said it from day one there is gonna be a strike. At this point, we don’t know what locations are gonna strike first but I do believe a strike is inevitable,” said Rich Letourneau, the Bargaining Chairman for the Local 2209.
Local workers have expressed mixed emotions as they are scheduled to continue work as outlined in the Bargaining Committee Report, which can be read below, that the Roanoke plant is not likely to shut down. The idea with this style of strike is to focus on high-profile plants that provide supply, such as trucks or parts plants. If they stop production at these plants, it causes a domino effect as plants rely on regular shipment to continue production.
Leaders of the UAW 2209 expressed that concern from local employees comes from the discontent with some remaining at work while some are going out on strike. This raises concern with local plants on whether members will follow to usual strike method even with the change to the ‘Stand Up Strike’ plan.
The latest proposed plan from General Motors leaders outlines a 20% wage increase over the life of the agreement with a double-digit (10%) increase in Year 1, Inflation protection, a faster path to max wages as well as benefits, healthcare and retirement security, and a guarantee of a better work-life balance.