United Auto Workers strike is underway; Rochester workers to stay on the job for now

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The United Auto Workers Union strike is underway. About 13,000 auto workers have walked off the job at three targeted factories after their union leaders couldn’t reach a deal with Detroit’s automakers.

Auto workers in Rochester will stay on the job for now.

A small percentage of the union’s 146,000 members walked off the job at a GM assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, a Ford factory in Wayne, Michigan, and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio around midnight.

UAW Local 1097 President Dan Maloney says Rochester workers were notified at 10 p.m. that a deal had not been reached and that they are not included in the list of facilities set for a strike at midnight.

During a Facebook Live announcement at around 10, UAW President Shawn Fain said that three facilities would hit the picket line at midnight: Local 2250 at GM’s Wentzville Assembly Center in Missouri; Local 12 at Stellantis’ Toledo Assembly Plant in Ohio; and Local 900 at Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant (final assembly and paint only).

“Our president and the international board will have the leverage now to start calling our other plants — one at a time or multiples at a time. Everybody is locked, loaded, and ready to get out there,” Maloney said outside the GM Components Holding LLC plant on Lexington Avenue.

Mark Barbee, UAW international representative, added: “The employers are aware that we’re willing to go as far as we need to go to get equity in the workplace.”

Among the demands being made by the union are a 36% wage increase across the board, a four-day work week, and an end to varying tiers of wages for factory jobs. That wage increase demand is down slightly from the 40% the union was asking for earlier this week. But it’s far from the 15-20% increase that was being offered by the three automakers.

This is the first time UAW workers are going on strike against all three major Detroit automakers — General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — at the same time.