UAW expands strike to include workers in Minnesota, Wisconsin

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UAW strike in Plymouth, Minnesota, on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. (FOX 9)

The United Auto Workers expanded its strike against the three major automakers on Friday, with workers walking out of 38 General Motors and Stellantis parts distribution centers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and 18 other states.

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said progress has been made in negotiations with Ford, but not GM and Stellanis, so workers at GM and Stellantis would picket. This includes the Stellantis facility in Plymouth, Minnesota, as well as the GM facility, Hudson Parts Distribution, in Hudson, Wisconsin, and the Stellantis facility in Milwaukee. 

Another 5,600 additional workers joined the strike on top of the 13,000 of the 146,000 members that began the strike one week ago.

"Our workers aren't having it," Fain said Friday. "The standup strike movement is not just the Big Three. Everywhere, UAW members of the working class are ready to stand up against corporate greed."

Fain said they would not wait around forever for a contract with the Big Three and that the public was on the union's side. 

"We're doing this differently this time around. Our standup strike strategy is designed to do one thing: win record contracts after years of record profits," Fain said.

The strike started on Friday, Sept. 15 after automakers and the union failed to reach a contract deal. The union initially was asking for a 46% pay raise, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay, the tier system removed, and restoration of traditional pensions for new hires, among other demands. However, the union said it is now willing to accept a pay raise percentage in the mid-30s.

Counteroffers have been passed back and forth between the Big Three and UAW. All three automakers have offered raises that are around 20%.

As the strike enters week two, the ripple effect is being felt. On the same day that the strike started, Ford temporarily laid off 600 employees at Michigan Assembly. The automaker said the laid-off workers are part of departments that can't do their jobs while final assembly and paint workers are on strike.

This week, GM and Stellantis also announced layoffs. GM laid off around 2,000 workers at its Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas, while Stellantis laid off 68 employees at a machining plant in Ohio and will likely lay off an estimated 300 other workers at factories in Indiana. 

FOX 2 in Detroit contributed to this story.