The United Auto Workers strike is set to expand Friday at noon Eastern time at a Ford Motor assembly plant in Chicago and a General Motors plant in Delta Township, Mich., a move that would bring the total number of striking auto workers to about 25,000.
UAW president Shawn Fain said in a webcast to union members Friday that he was not calling for any additional strikes at Stellantis facilities at this time because the company had “made significant progress” on some UAW demands, including cost-of-living adjustments. Fain said he was “excited about this momentum at Stellantis.”
The UAW strike is now spread out at 43 facilities in 21 states.
During his address to members, Fain cited the historic move by President Joe Biden to picket with the UAW this week. “The most powerful man in the world showed up for one reason only: because our solidarity is the most powerful force in the world,” he said.
Fain, as he has time and time again, called the union’s cause “righteous” and said he expected a long fight ahead, echoing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous quote: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
At Ford’s Chicago Assembly, where employees make the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator, the noon strike will affect about 4,600 UAW members. At GM’s Lansing Delta Assembly, where employees produce the Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave, about 2,300 members have been called to walk out, though Fain asked Lansing regional stamping employees at that plant to continue working.
A GM spokesperson on Friday passed along what Gerald Johnson, the company’s executive vice president for global manufacturing, told employees after the UAW’s announcement: “We still have not received a comprehensive counteroffer from UAW leadership to our latest proposal made on September 21. Calling more strikes is just for the headlines, not real progress.”
Ford and Stellantis did not immediately return requests for comment.
The UAW strike began two weeks ago at one GM
plant each, affecting almost 13,000 workers. Last Friday, the strike spread to 38 GM and Stellantis parts-distribution centers across the country, affecting more than 5,600 additional workers. The UAW did not expand its strike to any Ford facilities last week, with Fain at the time citing “real progress” on negotiations with the company. But on Friday, he said there was a lack of “meaningful progress” from Ford and GM.
Among the union’s demands are wage increases, the elimination of tiers and the restoration of pensions.
Related: UAW says picketing workers are getting hit by cars, having guns pulled on them
See also: UAW strike brings fight to consumers, worsening car-parts shortages already plaguing the industry