UAW, Detroit Three automakers try to reach deal before strike widens

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Striking United Auto Workers walk the picket line outside the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne

Striking United Auto Workers walk the picket line outside the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, U.S. September 17, 2023. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook Acquire Licensing Rights

Sept 18 (Reuters) - The United Auto Workers strike against the Detroit Three automakers enters its fourth day on Monday as both sides try to hammer out deals to avoid costly disruptions to more plants.

Union negotiators and representatives of General Motors (GM.N), Ford (F.N) and Stellantis (STLAM.MI) were set to resume talks on Monday, seeking to end one of the most ambitious U.S. industrial labor actions in decades that has seen the union strike all three automakers simultaneously for the first time.

The coordinated strike comes at a time when Americans' approval of labor unions is at its highest point in decades even as membership in unions remains largely unchanged.

About 12,700 UAW workers are on strike as part of a coordinated labor action targeting three U.S. assembly plants - one at each of the Detroit Three automakers after the prior four-year labor agreements expired. Analysts and industry executives question how long it will be before the UAW strikes at additional plants in a move to raise pressure on the companies.

UAW President Shawn Fain said Sunday that progress in the talks has been slow, and that the union was prepared to do what was necessary when asked whether the union would extend the strike at the three automakers to additional plants this week.

The strikes have halted production at three plants in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri that produce the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and Chevrolet Colorado, along with other popular models.

Analysts expect plants that build more profitable pickup trucks like Ford's F-150, GM's Chevy Silverado and Stellantis's Ram to be the next strike targets if the walkout continues.

The three automakers have proposed 20% raises over the four-and-a-half year term of their proposed deals, though that is only half of what the UAW is demanding through 2027.

Besides higher wages, the UAW is also demanding shorter work weeks, restoration of defined benefit pensions and stronger job security as automakers make the shift to electric vehicles.

Reuters Graphics

Reporting by David Shepardson and Ben Klayman, Editing by Deepa Babington

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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