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Ripple effect of UAW strike leads to layoffs of non-striking workers by Detroit Three automakers

Third shift Ford Michigan Assembly workers on the picket line
Tracy Samilton
Michigan Radio
Third shift Ford Michigan Assembly workers on the picket line

General Motors and Stellantis announced layoffs of non-striking workers on Wednesday, as the UAW strike against Detroit Three automakers entered its sixth day.

"As a consequence of the strike action at the Toledo Assembly Complex (TAC), Stellantis confirms that it will immediately temporarily layoff 68 employees at the Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg, Ohio, due to storage constraints," the company said in a statement "In addition, we anticipate similar actions at Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo Casting in Kokomo, Indiana, affecting an estimated 300 employees at these two facilities."

General Motors laid off 2,000 workers at its Fairfax, Kansas plant on Wednesday, due to the unavailability of parts produced at a struck plant in Missouri.

“It is unfortunate that the UAW leadership’s decision to call a strike at Wentzville Assembly has already had a negative ripple effect, with GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas being idled today and most of its represented team members leaving the plant as there is no work available," the company said. "This is due to a shortage of critical stampings supplied by Wentzville’s stamping operations to Fairfax.

We have said repeatedly that nobody wins in a strike, and that effects go well beyond our employees on the plant floor and negatively impact our customers, suppliers and the communities where we do business, such as in greater Kansas City. What happened to our Fairfax team members is a clear and immediate demonstration of that fact. We will continue to bargain in good faith with the union to reach an agreement as quickly as possible.”

On Friday, Ford Motor Company laid off 600 non-striking workers at its Michigan Assembly plant, after the UAW called on paint shop and final assembly workers to walk off the job.

“Our production system is highly interconnected, which means the UAW’s targeted strike strategy will have knock-on effects for facilities that are not directly targeted for a work stoppage. In this case, the strike at Michigan Assembly Plant’s final assembly and paint departments has directly impacted the operations in other parts of the facility," the company said in a statement.

The UAW says it will announce more plant strikes on Friday at noon if it has not reached a tentative agreement with the companies by then.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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