The president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union shot back at Ford after the automaker announced they will temporarily lay off hundreds of workers, citing strike-related supply chain issues.
“Let’s be clear: if the Big Three decide to lay people off who aren’t on strike, that’s them trying to put the squeeze on our members to settle for less,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a statement Saturday.
UAW began a strike against the “Big Three” automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — early Friday morning, a first in the union’s history, after negotiations failed before reaching the end of the workers’ contracts. The union is demanding increased wages, shorter work weeks and better retirement benefits.
Fain said small portion of workers will be on strike at a time, only giving hours notice to the automakers, in order to “keep the companies guessing.” The striking workers included about half the workforce at the Wayne, Mich., plant outside Detroit.
Ford announced Friday that it temporarily laid off about 600 workers at the plant on Friday, just hours after other workers began a strike.
“This layoff is a consequence of the strike at Michigan Assembly Plant’s final assembly and paint departments, because the components built by these 600 employees use materials that must be e-coated for protection,” Ford said in a statement to CBS News. “E-coating is completed in the paint department, which is on strike.”
Fain said that the UAW will continue to support the laid off workers, and that the threats do not scare them.
“Their plan won’t work. The UAW will make sure any worker laid off in the Big Three’s latest attack will not go without an income,” he said. “We’ll organize one day longer than they can, and go the distance to win economic and social justice at the Big Three.”
Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) announced he plans to join picketers at the same Michigan plant on Saturday.
“I know which side I’m on,” the freshman senator wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “As long as these brave workers continue to walk the picket line, my entire team and I will have their backs.”
“We will support them any way we can until they reach a fair deal,” he added.
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