The North Star


United Auto Worker Strike

Detroit’s Big Three Seek Reprisals Against Union with Sudden Lay Offs

Read Time:2 Minute

Subscribe to our newsletter:

Only days into the United Auto Workers historic strike against the Big Three, the auto monopolies have retaliated by laying off workers at several factories. GM halted production at its plant in Fairfax, Kansas, putting approximately 2000 workers out of the job, Stellantis stopped production in 3 factories in Indiana and Ohio, laying off over 300 workers, and Ford laid off 600 workers at an assembly plant in Michigan. Because the UAW is engaged in a strike, laid off workers who are with the union cannot claim unemployment benefits. 

The UAW has reacted by stating that these layoffs are attempts to pressure the union into accepting a less favourable settlement. Union president Shawn Fain asserts that these layoff are unnecessary given the substantial profits that automakers have made. Fain also stated that the UAW will ensure workers who have been laid off will not be without income for the duration of the strike. 

In lockstep with one-another, each member of the big three stated that the lay-offs were a product of the strike causing major supply chain issues; GM and Ford claim that essential parts are not arriving at their other plants, and Stellantis is claiming the strike has caused "storage issues". Plants belonging to contract manufacturers who work under the Big Three's monopoly have also begun laying off workers using similar justification.

Regarding the layoffs, GM claims that "We have said repeatedly that nobody wins in a strike, 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". Fain explains the layoffs as “ [the Big Three] trying to put the squeeze on our members to settle for less. With their record profits, they don’t have to lay off a single employee. In fact, they could double every autoworker’s pay, not raise car prices, and still rake in billions of dollars".

Usually, mass layoffs in the United States must be announced 60 days in advance, as dictated by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. The state suspends protections for workers on economic strikes, granting employers greater power to retaliate with layoffs and scab labour.

Far from discouraging the union however, the UAW has expanded the strike to 38 new sites accross 20 states as of this Friday. The strike is now reaching national dimensions and brings the grand total of UAW members who are on strike to 18,300.

Support journalism going against the tide ← To help North Star continue to produce stories from the majority's perspective and in the majority's interest, make a donation! Every contribution matters.