UAW strike affects South Deering plant in Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — The United Auto Workers are striking the Big Three automakers at the same time: Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis — the company that makes Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge Ram.

Negotiations are suspended until Saturday.

The union is demanding a 40% wage increase, a shorter week for workers, and the return of retirement plans for hourly employees.

CBS 2’s Sabrina Franza reports from the Ford plant in South Deering where there is no sit-in, but there may be soon.

The UAW uses a targeted strike approach. This is done deliberately to confuse the big three car companies. No one has any idea who might be called upon for the next strike or for how long.

It looks like a normal day at the Chicago assembly plant.

“It’s business as usual, we’re working out of the Chicago assembly plant on the fourth floor of the Lincoln Aviators,” said Chris Pena, president of UAW Local 551.

On Torrence Street, auto workers are on standby, ready to strike at any moment.

“This local could be called upon to be the next target and we are just standing by,” Pena said.

Three regional plants outside Chicago were called on strike.

GM’s Wentzville Assembly Plant in Missouri, the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Plant, and the Ford Michigan Final Assembly and Paint Assembly Plant in Wayne.

The union is asking for a raise of up to 40% from Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. All three are offering about half the asking price.

They also want a 32-hour work week, the return of pensions, and the phasing out of benefits introduced in 2008 when carmakers needed some help during the financial crisis.

“Making sure that the middle class is really strong and thriving,” Pena said.

The targeted strike approach means local businesses are poised to lose a large customer base at any moment, too.

“We regularly have people come in throughout the day to place orders and pick up deliveries,” said Jim Spanos of Chicago PETA.

Chicago Pita is located just down the road from the Chicago factory.

“Pretty close. In fact, we used to be in the cafeteria at Ford for 10 years,” Spanos said.

A strike is not ideal for their business, parts suppliers and all vendors in the area.

“We’re like your small town, about 5,500 people,” Pena said.

There is a union meeting scheduled for Sunday. Most local members are expected to attend.

Negotiations are suspended until Saturday.

(tags for translation) United Auto Workers

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