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United Auto Workers Hold Limited Strikes As Contract Negotiations Expire

Source: Bill Pugliano / Getty

KOKOMO, Ind. — For the first time in 88 years, the United Auto Workers union is on strike as they and Detroit’s big three automakers did not come to an agreement on a new contract by the UAW’s deadline of Thursday night at midnight.

With that, the UAW has announced targeted strikes in St. Louis, Ohio, and Michigan. At the moment, no UAW members are striking at any of the GM or Stellantis locations in Indiana. But in Kokomo, where a Stellantis transmission plant is based, union members are in a holding pattern should things progress.

GM, Ford, and Stellantis employees in other locations than the three announced by union leaders are still working under an expired contract.

“The goal isn’t to strike,” said David Green, the director of the UAW Region 2B, which covers Kokomo. “We want to get a fair an equitable contract for our members.”

Green said that using targeted strikes, as opposed to a complete strike across the nation, will give union leaders more time to get a deal done with minimal negative impacts.

“By doing it this way, on a slow scale, I think it’s going to give our bargaining team the turbocharge, the extra power, they need at the bargaining table,” he said on WISH-TV.

While Indiana UAW workers will continue as normal, workers in St. Louis, Ohio, and Michigan are on the picket lines now and will receive $500 a week from the union to supplement their income. These funds come from the union strike fund which is kept up through union dues.

One of the things that the union is looking to accomplish in the negotiations is to roll back previous concessions made by the UAW that go as far back as the late 2000’s. That’s when the Big Three were running on fumes — no pun intended — when it comes to cash.

Ford was able to navigate through the tough economic times, but GM and Chrysler (now owned by Stellantis), ended up taking federal bailouts.