And thousands more may follow.
Following the initiation of a historic strike against The Big Three Detroit automakers, some non-striking Ford and General Motors staff are being temporarily laid off. Ford has laid off some 600 workers from its plant in Wayne, Michigan, while GM says that it could cut as many as 2,000 staff members from its payroll next week.
Ford has defended the move by saying that the interconnectivity of its plants means that when one facility is shut down, the others are also affected. In this case, the workers at Ford's body assembly plant were laid off because the components they are required to assemble have not been painted in their special e-coating, as the paint department is striking.
GM will use the same reasoning. "It is unfortunate that the UAW's leadership decision to call a strike at Wentzville Assembly has already had a negative ripple effect, with GM's Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas and its 2,000 team members expected to be idled as soon as early next week," the automaker said in a statement, reports the Detroit Free Press.
UAW leadership feels that these decisions are unjustifiable, with president Shawn Fein claiming that "with their record profits, [The Big Three] don't have to lay off a single employee." In fact, Fein believes that these automakers "could double every autoworker's pay, not raise car prices, and still rake in billions of dollars."
Both the UAW and Detroit's OEMs seem to be very steadfast in their convictions, but progress is being made. Speaking with NPR, the UAW said that it "had reasonably productive conversations with Ford today." But a resolution is likely still some way off, with more strikes likely to occur if negotiations progress too slowly.
These strikes will continue to target automakers where it hurts the most. The strike is affecting the plant where Ford builds the Bronco and the Ranger, while GM's affected plant is responsible for the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and others, and Stellantis is losing out on Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator production.
The UAW strike that took place four years ago took more than a month to be resolved. Hopefully, it won't take that long to reach an agreement this time around.