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Wisconsin UAW locals join escalating strike

Auto workers in Milwaukee and Hudson walked out shortly after 11 a.m.

A sign reads "UAW on strike"
United Auto Workers of local 868 demonstrate outside a Stellantis parts-distribution center, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in Morrow, Ga. Mike Stewart/AP Photo

Auto workers in Milwaukee and Hudson have joined the ongoing United Auto Workers strike. About 100 union members at a Milwaukee parts distribution center for Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, walked out shortly after 11 a.m. Friday.

About 80 workers at a General Motors facility in Hudson also walked out.

Last week, UAW President Shawn Fain announced the union would target specific work sites instead of walking out everywhere at once. The escalating actions are intended to disrupt the supply chain while allowing the union to conserve its $825 million strike fund.

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The two Wisconsin facilities were among 38 locations in 20 states where workers joined picket lines as the strike spread Friday. They joined locals in southeast Michigan; Wentzville, Missouri and Toledo, Ohio who walked out a week ago.

Ford employees in a third UAW site in Menominee are not on strike. Fain said that Ford has met some of the union’s demands and no additional stoppages will happen at Ford plants at this time.

The UAW is targeting all three major automakers at once, in a break with the tradition known as pattern bargaining. For decades, the union would come to an agreement with one company and the others would follow the same parameters.

Stellantis officials have said that before the union went on strike Sept.15, the company offered a wage increase, a repurposing of a plant slated to close in Belvidere, Ohio and a list of distribution centers that would be closed. The Milwaukee site was on the list of proposed closures. The UAW rejected the offer.

The union is seeking higher wages, cost of living increases and a level playing field for new hires, among other benefits.