The United Auto Workers (UAW) union escalated its strike against General Motors (GM) on Saturday to include a Tennessee engine plant, after Ford and Stellantis reached tentative contract agreements this week.
After Ford and Stellantis reached tentative deals with the UAW in the past few days, the union officially launched a new round of strikes against GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee, engine plant on Saturday, according to a report from Reuters. The plant employs 4,000 workers and supplies motors to nine different assembly plants, which build the automaker’s most profitable vehicles.
On Saturday, Reuters also reported that UAW President Shawn Fain said the union was “disappointed by GM’s unnecessary and irresponsible refusal to come to a fair agreement.”
GM stated that it was disappointed by the UAW’s move to strike against its Spring Hill plant. The automaker also said it expected at least two of its larger pickup factories to be affected by the walkout, adding that it hoped to reach an agreement quickly.
The statements came after the union reached agreements with both Ford and Stellantis this week featuring a 25-percent wage increase over the lifespan of the next contract. With cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) factored in, the Ford and Stellantis pay hikes amount to over 33 percent increases, and both are expected to begin with an initial 11 percent wage boost.
GM is the only remaining “Big Three” automaker that hasn’t reached an agreement yet with the union, though it isn’t clear exactly what obstacles prevented the company from progressing toward an agreement.
According to sources familiar with the talks, pension costs and temporary workers were a few sticking points during contract negotiations.
“We look forward to welcoming our 43,000 employees back to work and resuming operations,” Stellantis said after it came to a tentative agreement with the UAW on Saturday.
In a statement, U.S. President Joe Biden called the Stellantis contract “a testament to the power of unions and collective bargaining to build strong middle-class jobs.”
— UAW (@UAW) October 29, 2023
The deal with Stellantis also includes the reopening of the automaker’s Belvidere, Illinois plant, along with keeping two other facilities open that were expected to close: an engine manufacturing plant in Trenton, Michigan and a machining facility in Toledo, Ohio.
Stellantis is expected to invest as much as $19 billion in the U.S., creating around 5,000 jobs after the company previously expected to cut that many workers.
Bargaining with GM is expected to continue, though it’s not entirely clear when talks will reconvene.
The union is also expected to meet with local union leaders from Ford on Sunday afternoon in Taylor, Michigan, to begin the contract ratification process. The UAW is also expected to offer a video update at 7:00 p.m. ET on the discussions with Ford.
Following the discussions on Sunday, union leaders will attend larger regional meetings to discuss the deal with workers, all of whom must approve the plans before the contract is ratified. Last month, Mack Truck workers voted to reject a deal that Fain and the UAW had recommended, and the same could happen with the current contract talks.
The UAW has a strike still ongoing at GM’s Arlington, Texas assembly plant, which the automaker said was costing the company around $400 million per week.