Auto workers stop expanding strikes against Detroit Three after GM makes battery plant concession
DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union has decided not to expand its strikes against Detroit's three automakers after General Motors made a breakthrough concession on unionizing electric vehicle battery plants.
Union President Shawn Fain told workers in a video appearance Friday that additional plants could be added later. The delay came shortly after GM agreed to bring electric vehicle battery plants into the UAW's national contract, essentially assuring that they will be unionized.
He said GM made the change after the union threatened to strike at a GM plant in Arlington, Texas, which makes highly profitable large SUVs.
“Today, under the threat of a major financial hit, they leapfrogged the pack in terms of a 'just transition' from combustion engines to electric vehicles," he said. “Our strike is working, but we’re not there yet.”
Fain said GM's move will change the future of the union and the auto industry.
"[The Detroit Three's] plan was to drawn down engine and transmission plants and permanently replace them with low-wage battery jobs," Fain said. "We have a different plan, and that plan is winning at GM, and we expect it to win at Ford and Stellantis as well."
The Union has been on strike against the Detroit Three automakers since September 14. Since then, around 25,000 employees across over 40 plants have walked off the job.
A spokesperson for GM said the automaker's goal remains to "reach an agreement that rewards our employees and allows GM to be successful into the future."