Sep 15, 2023 - News

Toledo Jeep plant is among first wave of UAW strike

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Workers at a Toledo Jeep plant were among the United Auto Workers union employees who walked off the job at midnight Friday. Thousands more across Ohio could join them in the coming days.

Driving the news: The strike by about 13,000 auto workers is an unprecedented move targeting Detroit's Big Three automakers — GM, Ford and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler) — that could disrupt the economy for weeks or longer.

Why it matters: The standoff comes amid a global transition toward electric vehicles, with U.S. automakers looking for competitive advantages against non-unionized EV companies like Tesla, Axios Detroit's Joe Guillen reports.

The other side: "We are extremely disappointed by the UAW leadership's refusal to engage in a responsible manner to reach a fair agreement in the best interest of our employees, their families and our customers," Stellantis said in a statement after the strike deadline.

Threat level: A broader work stoppage at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis could result in an economic loss of more than $5 billion after 10 days, according to Anderson Economic Group.

State of play: Contracts with about 150,000 workers at the three companies expired at 11:59pm Thursday.

  • The union is making progress in negotiations, but the sides remain far apart on key priorities, UAW President Shawn Fain said.

By the numbers: More than 18,000 Ohioans could be affected.

  • Ford employs 7,000 across its four plants in Ohio, with more than 1,700 workers each at its Cleveland Engine Plant in Brook Park and the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake.
  • GM has just under 4,500 workers, with about 900 at the Parma Metal Center.
  • Stellantis has roughly 6,600 Ohio workers, almost all of them working at the Toledo Jeep plant.

What they're saying: Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter told News Channel 5 that he was worried about a potential strike's impact on the city's finances.

  • "Cities survive on income tax, and they're one of our biggest employers," DeGeeter said of GM's Parma Metal Center. "So the longer they're out, that also affects us as a city on what we do as far as services go."

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