UAW strike yet to touch EV production
First sites hit by union action are ICE-focused
The United Auto Workers Union (UAW) has begun strike action with walkouts at a trio of factories belonging to the so-called ‘Detroit Three’ legacy automakers, Ford, GM, and the US arm of Stellantis. But the firms’ EV production chains are not the first to be targeted.
The strike is a culmination of months of negotiations between the UAW and the Detroit Three and was triggered last night as the union’s existing contract expired. The prospect of further walkouts — which could spread to EVs — loom if agreements cannot be reached.
More of this direct to your inbox?
Get our free weekly newsletter, plus premium data and content
No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.
Nearly 13,000 workers will walk out of Ford’s Wayne, Michigan factory, Stellantis’ plant in Toledo, Ohio, as well as GM’s Wentzville, Missouri assembly center. Manufacturing will pause for Ford’s Ranger and Bronco pickups, GM’s Wentzville-manufactured van models from Chevrolet and GMC, as well as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC canyon pickups, while Stellantis’ Toledo plant will halt production of the Jeep Gladiator and Wrangler models — all ICE vehicles.
It is hardly surprising that ICE production is the first to be targeted, given ICE vehicles make up by far a greater proportion of the three firms’ overall mix. And it is also the way to hit the firms harder in their pockets, given the majority of profits come from ICE sales.
EVs as target
As such, it may be that EV production lines will feature low on the target list for escalation. That said, the UAW does have specific concerns about EV production — around reduced workforces for constructing cars with fewer parts, jobs migrating to non-unionised battery supply chain joint ventures and firms taking government support for the move to electrification without passing on benefits to UAW members.
So it may be that, even for symbolic reasons, the union’s strategy plan for ratcheting up the pressure on the Detroit Three might include an EV element sooner rather than later.