Car Union Expands Strike Again, Targets GM's Largest Moneymaking Plant
Car Union Expands Strike Again, Targets GM's Largest Moneymaking Plant

By Andrew Moran

In an unannounced move, thousands of United Auto Workers (UAW) union members walked off the job at General Motors’ biggest facility and largest moneymaker following its third-quarter earnings report.

An estimated 5,000 workers at a GM Arlington Assembly plant in Texas joined the Stand Up Strike, marking the second consecutive day of UAW-represented employees participating in a work stoppage. This will impact popular GM brands, such as the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon, and the Chevrolet Tahoe.

The surprise walkout occurred hours after GM reported $3.5 billion in third-quarter earnings on Oct. 24. However, the automaker noted that the UAW strike cost the business $800 million in lost production, including $200 million in the July-to-September period.

Global revenues climbed 5.4 percent in the three months ending on Sept. 30 to $44.1 billion, while net profit margins eased to 6.9 percent year-over-year.

“Another record quarter, another record year,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a statement. “As we’ve said for months: record profits equal record contracts. It’s time GM workers, and the whole working class, get their fair share.”

Mr. Fain also told reporters that the UAW is sending a message to the corporations.

‘Time to Amp Up’

“We’re done. We’ve tried to do things the right way. We’ve taken our time. We’ve been patient with these companies. It’s time to amp up the pressure,” he said.

Approximately 45,000 autoworkers from the Big Three—Ford, GM, and Stellantis—are on strike, which is in its sixth week. In addition, roughly 7,000 workers have been temporarily laid off due to the spillover effects of the work stoppages.

Ford confirmed to The Epoch Times on Oct. 23 that it would furlough 67 Sterling Axle Plant employees in Kentucky due to “the UAW’s targeted strike strategy has knock-on effects for facilities that are not directly targeted for a work stoppage.”

In total, 485 people have been temporarily laid off at the plant.

GM CEO Mary Barra explained to analysts during the earnings conference call that there is a lot of “near-term uncertainty” regarding the labor dispute.

“I hope it’s equally clear that we’re going to be acting with purpose, we’re going to remain agile and we’re making sure we have a system that has the ability to respond to where the market is.

“And our commitment is to deliver a strong and profitable ICE business, as well as a strong and profitable EV business, for our future,” Ms. Barra said.

Following UAW’s announcement, General Motors executives expressed disappointment at the latest action.

‘Unnecessary and Irresponsible’

“We are disappointed by the escalation of this unnecessary and irresponsible strike. It is harming our team members who are sacrificing their livelihoods and having negative ripple effects on our dealers, suppliers and the communities that rely on us,” the company said in a statement.

“It is time for us to finish this process, get our team members back to work and get on with the business of making GM the company that will win and provide great jobs in the U.S. for our people for decades to come.”

The automaker added that it presented a comprehensive proposal to the union that builds upon its “substantial and historic offers” of about 25 percent in total value.

The UAW expanded the strike to kick off the week as 6,800 union workers at one of Stellantis’ biggest plants in Michigan joined the strike on Oct. 23.

Estimates suggest that the Big Three automakers are losing between $250 million and $1 billion a week.

For the most part, the Big Three’s stocks have been battered in 2023.

Ford Motor Co. slumped 0.5 percent during the Oct. 24 trading session to $11.42, worsening its year-to-date performance to negative 2.35 percent. GM shares tumbled more than 2 percent to below $29, adding to its year-to-date drop of 15 percent. Stellantis declined nearly 1 percent to under $19, but it remains up about 28 percent year-to-date.

Tentative Pact with General Dynamics

Before midnight on Oct. 22, 1,100 UAW-represented members who produce armored vehicles and tanks for General Dynamics reached a tentative agreement with the company.

Following weeks of contract negotiations, the UAW secured a four-year deal that offers members a 14 percent wage increase, a cost-of-living allowance (COLA), decreases the length of time to receive top pay, and “beats back the company’s proposed healthcare concessions.”

Earlier this month, UAW members in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania voted 97 percent to authorize the strike at General Dynamics, one of the largest U.S. defense contractors. The company’s largest customer is the U.S. government.

A ratification vote on the new agreement will be held soon.

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