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What You Need to Know About the United Auto Workers’ Expansion of Strikes at Automakers

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has expanded its strike at General Motors (GM) and Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram. The strike, which began on September 15, is not a full-scale walkout but a targeted work stoppage. On Friday, the UAW expanded the strike to include 38 parts distribution centers at GM and Stellantis. However, it did not include Ford in the expansion due to progress in talks. The union must negotiate separate deals with each company on issues such as pay and retirement benefits.

The strike was extended due to a lack of significant progress in talks with GM and Stellantis. The UAW president, Shawn Fain, called on workers at all spare parts distribution centers of the two companies to walk out.

The expansion of the strike includes 18 GM distribution centers and 20 Stellantis centers, affecting a total of around 18,300 UAW workers. The union is seeking a 40 percent wage increase over four years, along with cost-of-living adjustments, reinstatement of pensions for all workers, improved retiree benefits, shorter work hours, and an end to a tiered wage system.

The union is seeking a 40 percent wage increase over four years, cost-of-living adjustments, reinstatement of pensions for all workers, improved retiree benefits, shorter work hours, and an end to a tiered wage system.

When the strike started, the companies offered pay raises of around 14.5 percent to 20 percent over four years, lump-sum payments to offset inflation effects, and policy changes to increase the pay of recent hires and temporary workers.

Negotiations with Ford have shown some progress, resulting in Ford conceding on cost-of-living adjustments, the right to strike over plant closures, and benefits for laid-off workers. However, talks with GM and Stellantis have not seen significant progress.

The companies argue that they are investing in the transition to battery-powered vehicles, making it challenging for them to afford substantially higher wages. The UAW president has emphasized that the union will not settle for less than the 40 percent wage increases.

The UAW is paying striking workers $500 per week and covering their health insurance premiums. The strike fund of $825 million is enough to cover payments to workers in a full strike against all three companies for about three months.

Currently, only certain car models are affected. However, if the strike continues and starts affecting inventories, car dealers may have fewer vehicles, leading to potential price increases. This comes at a time when car prices are already rising, making it harder for buyers to afford cars. The strike may also impact those needing vehicle repairs if the models are made by GM or Stellantis.

Daniel Victor and Jack Ewing contributed to this report.

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