General Motors idles another auto plant, sending 2,000 workers home as strike deepens

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General Motors said Wednesday it idled a manufacturing plant in Kansas, and laid off almost all of the approximately 2,000 people working there.

The automaker said in its announcement that there is no work available for most of the people at the Fairfax assembly plant because workers at another GM facility went on strike last Friday.

Additionally, the company said, it cannot provide supplemental unemployment benefits ‘due to the specific circumstances of this situation.’

Also Wednesday, Stellantis, the maker of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles, said it is laying off 68 workers in Ohio, and another 300 layoffs in Indiana could soon follow.

The automaker said it was laying off employees at its Toledo machining plant in Perrysburg, Ohio, because of ‘storage constraints.’ It said it expects to do the same at its transmission and casting facilities in Kokomo, Indiana.

The United Auto Workers union went on strike Friday after its previous contract with Stellantis, Ford and GM expired. Some 12,700 workers walked off the job.

The layoffs are another sign that both sides are digging in as the first week of the strike soon comes to a close.

Meanwhile, UAW has said more workers will strike at noon Eastern time Friday unless there is ‘serious progress’ toward a new contract.

The union is seeking 40% hourly pay increases, a 32-hour, four-day workweek, a shift back to traditional pensions, the end of compensation tiers and the restoration of cost-of-living adjustments.

The Big Three automakers have offered roughly 20% increases in hourly pay, thousands of dollars in bonuses, and retention of the union’s platinum health care, along with other improvements in benefits.

The UAW is using a targeted strategy in its strikes, having workers walk off the job at specific manufacturing sites on short notice in order to make it harder for the automakers to anticipate their plans and work around them.

So far, workers are on strike at GM’s midsize truck and full-size van plant in Wentzville, Missouri; Ford’s Ranger midsize pickup and Bronco SUV plant in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellantis’ Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator plant in Toledo, Ohio.

The Big Three automakers are already announcing layoffs at facilities or departments where they say there is no work because of stoppages elsewhere.

Late Friday afternoon, Ford said it laid off 600 employees in Wayne.

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