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US auto workers threaten to expand strike if progress is not made

Striking auto workers in the United States are threatening to expand their strike to more factories if significant progress is not made by Friday.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) have been on strike since September 14 at a Ford assembly plant in Michigan, a General Motors plant in Missouri and a Stellantis plant in Ohio. This is the first time that the three major car manufacturers have been hit by strikes simultaneously.

The strikers’ main concern is the companies’ alleged reluctance to share record profits, as well as the imposed tiered pay structure, which pays new workers far less than their more experienced counterparts in the same position. Workers are demanding a reduction in the wage gap as well as additional benefits.

The Big Three have proposed 20 percent raises over the 4 1/2-year term of the deals they are proposing, although that is only half of what the UAW is demanding through 2027.

Automakers have warned that a continued strike could force other companies in the supply chain to lay off employees. US Steel Corporation is temporarily idling a blast furnace in Granite City, Illinois. GM is expected to maintain operations for at least one more day at an assembly plant in Kansas City, Mo., but the plant will likely be idle after that.

President Joe Biden has publicly supported the UAW, and according to a CNBC report, he initially planned to send two top officials to Detroit to help with negotiations. However, Biden indicated he would not send anyone to the city again.

Some information in this report comes from the Associated Press and Reuters.