United Auto Workers strike at 3 Midwest plants, but not in Chicago – at least yet

Workers at three assembly plants in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri have walked off the job, but Chicago employees have yet to join.

NBC Universal, Inc.

It was business as usual on Friday at the Ford assembly plant on Chicago’s Southeast Side.

However, down the street at the UAW Local 551 building, leaders were prepared to signal to employees that it’s time to strike.

“Our strike committee is on standby. They have everything we need to mobilize, organize and possible exit the plant, if needed,” said UAW Local 551 President Chris Pena.

As of Friday afternoon, the strike was limited to three sites - a General Motors plant in Missouri, a Stellantis facility in Ohio and a Ford assembly plant in Michigan.

At any moment, that could change, and more sites could be added.

“This is the time to stand up and grab what we have coming to us, because this is textbook of what’s happened in the past, said employee Jason Wachowski. “We’ve got companies that make all this money, and they don’t want to drop it down to us.”

It’s not just the Chicago autoworkers that would be impacted if they walk off the job, but the entire Hegewisch community and neighboring businesses that rely on plant workers to spend their dollars.

I think it’s going to impact the community, the economy,” said the owner of Just Turkey Grill, Greg Morton. “A lot of money comes from the workers injecting it into the community and businesses, so I think it’s going to be a trickledown effect.”

The UAW said Ford, General Motors and Stellantis received a comprehensive counteroffer from the union Friday. All parties plan to be back to the bargaining table this weekend.

Contact Us