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Ramifications of UAW Strike Could Be Felt Locally

FILE - United Auto Workers members walk in the Labor Day parade in Detroit, Sept. 2, 2019. The United Auto Workers union says it has filed unfair labor practice complaints against Stellantis and General Motors for failing to make counteroffers to the union's economic demands. Ford was the only company of the Detroit Three automakers to make such an offer, but it rejected most of the union's proposals, President Shawn Fain told workers Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, in a Facebook Live meeting. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (NETWORK INDIANA):  The United Autoworkers Union is trying get leverage over Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. This is the first time the 88-year-old union had staged simultaneous walkouts with all three automakers.

About 12,700 UAW workers are on strike, which means there is no production at three auto plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri that produce the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and Chevrolet Colorado among other models.

Among their list of demands: a 40% pay increase over four years and a 32-hour work week. The union appears to be far from a compromise on wages and benefits. Both sides are far apart from a deal.

Even though the strike isn’t happening at plants in Indiana at this point, it’s bound to have an impact.

“The UAW is making no bones about it. They’re more than willing to expand the strike, starting with three plants and then add more plants. We have both assembly plants and parts plants in Indiana. An impact to them more than likely is coming,” said Gerry Dick, president of Inside Indiana Business, in a Monday interview with 93 WIBC’s Tony Katz.

General Motors employs about 6,000 people in its Indiana manufacturing facilities. The majority of the work is in the Fort Wayne vehicle assembly plant, technically just outside of Roanoke. That facility produces more than 1,300 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 trucks each day. The company also has three other non-assembly facilities in Indiana: an aluminum die casting plant in Bedford, a sheet metal stamping plant in Marion and an electronic components plant in Kokomo.

“If an assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio were to go down, that would certainly impact Kokomo. It’s certainly a ripple down effect for Indiana potentially,” said Dick.

Stellantis employs more than 7,000 people in Indiana. Those workers operate four transmission plants and a casting plant. Three of them are in Kokomo and one is in Tipton.

“As the strike goes on, and there are lots of indications that it’s not going to get solved anytime soon, we’ll begin to see those impacts,” said Dick.

UAW President Sean Fain says future walkouts could happen with little notice, the longer negotiations drag on. The strike started last Friday and is entering its first full week. The union says they are going with this “targeted” approach because it allows the union to apply pressure on all three automakers without having to use all of its money on an all-out strike at all three companies.

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