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Hundreds of UAW Members Strike at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant

Photo: Andrew Mullin ~ 760 WJR

WAYNE, MI, Sept. 15, 2023 ~ In a historic target of Detroit‘s three major automakers, about 12,700 workers began striking at various manufacturing sites for Ford Motor Co., Stellantis NV, and General Motors Friday.

After a contract could not be agreed upon between UAW and the automakers, UAW President Shawn Fain told workers to strike at the Wentzville Assembly Plant in Missouri, the Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, and the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne. Hundreds of union workers and labor supporters stood outside the gates to the Wayne plant, demanding better wages to support themselves and their families.

The union has been embroiled in heated negotiations with the three automakers for months, with the union’s current contracts expiring at 11:59 p.m., Sept. 14. The union is looking for a return to traditional pension plans, shorter work weeks, and higher wages.

Strikers went to the front line in six-hour shifts at the Wayne plant Friday. The strikers were briefly joined by U.S. Senate candidate and Democrat Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-7), who thanked them for voicing their demands and told them “The whole world is watching.

One of the union members on site was Gerry Gunn, a production worker who has been with Ford for the past six years. He wants to stay with Ford until he retires, but said the company should provide pensions or high enough wages to put into a retirement account.

In his day-to-day life, Gunn said he struggles to figure out what his family could eat from the few items in his refrigerator.

You can make top pay, but you feel like you are only making minimum wage,” Gunn said.

Another person striking at Ford is Jennifer Devers, who said some workers at the company do not have higher wages than fast food employees. She said the company also abuses its pay-tier system, noting that one of her co-workers was a temp worker for ten years before being promoted.

Devers, who helps assemble Ford Broncos, worked through many different industries before joining the factory four years ago, saying it was her dream to work at one of the big three automakers. However, that dream has not turned out how Devers hoped it would.

We were still working during the pandemic,” Devers said. “Their (Ford’s) product was still coming out that door, and they did not let us stay home for the pandemic. Mask up and work, that is what we were told.

They got their product, we suffered, and (they) are throwing us crumbs. It’s not fair.”


Sept. 15, 2023 ~ Daniel Howes, senior editor and columnist for the Detroit News, talks to Guy Gordon and Jamie Edmonds about the UAW striking at plants from each of Detroit‘s big three automakers, and the future of the negotiations. Photo: Mandi Wright ~ USA Today Network

Photos: Andrew Mullin ~ 760 WJR