DETROIT--The United Auto Workers union said it would announce on Friday more plants to strike if no serious progress was made in talks with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler-parent Stellantis, adding to pressure on the Detroit Three automakers.
Ford also faces a total strike at its smaller Canadian operations if no agreement is reached on Monday evening with the union representing about 5,600 Canadian auto workers, just days after workers at one of its U.S. plants walked out. The UAW last week launched a targeted strike against Ford, GM and Stellantis, targeting one U.S. assembly plant at each company. "We're not going to keep waiting around forever while they drag this out," UAW President Shawn Fain said in a video message late on Monday setting the new deadline after complaining about a lack of progress in recent talks. "We're not messing around." Canadian union Unifor, whose contract with Ford expires at 11:59 EDT on Monday on Tuesday), said there was still no deal just hours before the deadline. Unifor National President Lana Payne said in a video posted on the union's website that Ford needed to do more to meet members' expectations and demands. "If there is a strike, this will be a total strike," she said.
"Every single one of Unifor's 5,600 members at Ford in Canada will be on picket lines." Ford has two engine plants in Canada that build V-8 motors for F-series and Super Duty pickups assembled in the United States. It also has an assembly plant in Ontario. A walkout by Canadian workers that shut down those engine plants could cripple U.S. production of Ford's most profitable vehicles, even if the UAW decides not to order walkouts at truck plants in Kentucky; Dearborn, Michigan; and Kansas City, Missouri. "Ours is a small but highly consequential footprint for Ford operations in North America and this is our leverage, and we will use it," Payne said. Talks between the UAW and the Detroit automakers continued on Monday as a strike by auto workers over pay dragged on for a fourth day with little sign of progress toward a deal. Some 12,700 workers are striking at the three U.S. plants, including 3,300 at Ford's Wayne, Michigan assembly plant. Union negotiators and representatives of GM, Ford and Stellantis held talks over the weekend in an attempt to end one of the most ambitious U.S. industrial labor actions in decades.
On Monday, the UAW held talks with Stellantis though no deal was reached. It had scheduled a new round of talks with Ford for late afternoon. Fain told NPR on Monday there were "minimal conversations over the weekend so the ball is in their court .... We have a long way to go." Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said it was premature to forecast the strike's impact on the economy, which would depend on how long the action lasted and what was affected. The strikes have halted production at plants in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri that produce the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and Chevrolet Colorado, alongside other popular models.