(WJW) – At midnight Friday, thousands of United Auto Workers across the country and here in Northeast Ohio could be on the picket lines.
The union has given the “Big Three” automakers the deadline to meet their demands for a new contract. This time, the union is operating under a unique strike strategy, the call “Stand Up.”
If there is a strike, only workers in certain auto plants across the country will hit the picket lines, and leaders at Northeast Ohio plants tell FOX 8 they are ready.
“We’ve repeatedly told the companies from day one, September 14th is a deadline, not a reference point. We will not allow the Big 3 to drag out negotiations for months,” said Shawn Fain, UAW president.
Fain addressed union members during a speech on Facebook Wednesday evening.
He says if the Big 3 Detroit automakers do not come to an agreement on higher wages, profit sharing, job security and other issues, “some” workers will walk off the job at midnight Friday.
“Corporate greed is the problem and come tomorrow (Thursday) night, if they force us. We’re about the make it the Big 3’s problem,” he said.
“We’ll know at 10 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday), that if our plant is one of the ones that could be called to go,” said Dan Schwartz, president of UAW Local 1005.
UAW Local 1005 represents 900 auto workers at the General Motors metal stamping plant in Parma. Schwartz says if his workers are called to strike, they are ready to go.
“All 900 workers are on this list and this list dictates what time and what date you’re going to go ahead and walk the picket line. We picket 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.
This strike is different than previous walk-outs. The UAW president says only certain plants, strategically chosen around the country will hit the picket line.
No one will know which plants will walk out until it is announced at 10 p.m. Thursday.
“We are keeping all of our options open as we continue bargaining with the companies, and I want to be clear about this, an all-out strike is still a possibility,” said Fain.
“We want the double-digit pay raises. The executives are giving themselves huge bonuses, huge raises. We haven’t seen that. We want what’s fair,” said Schwartz.
UAW leaders say any strike would involve plants run by all Big 3 — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler.
In Northeast Ohio, the Parma plant, the Ford plant in Brook Park and the Ford plant in Avon Lake are all on alert.
“We go out on strike, the city’s going to feel it, the businesses in this area are going to feel it, gas stations, restaurants, bars, shops, stores,” warned Schwartz.
FOX 8 reached out to Ford and General Motors, which have plants here in Northeast Ohio, but so far have not received a comment.
If the UAW workers strike, there is a big rally planned in Detroit for this Friday.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is expected to attend, and UAW leaders say there will be “no negotiations” on that day.