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Will more auto workers go on strike Friday?

Some progress appeared to have been made on Thursday, giving the union room to avoid additional strikes if concessions were made.

DETROIT — A UAW strike against Detroit’s three automakers spread to dozens of parts distribution centers a week ago and is likely to intensify Friday.

As part of an unprecedented synchronized labor campaign against Ford, General Motors and Jeep maker Stellantis, unions have vowed to crack down harder on the automakers if they don’t receive what they say are significantly improved contract offers.

UAW President Shawn Fain is scheduled to make the announcement in a video address to union members at 10 a.m. ET. The union said more strikes could begin at noon on Friday.

But talks made progress Thursday night, and in a statement Friday morning the union left room for a delay in extending the strike. Fein will announce “if more workers stand up and join the ongoing strike” against the automaker, the statement said.

The automaker’s latest known wage offer was about 20 percent of the four-year contract, slightly more than half the union’s demand. Other contract improvements, such as cost-of-living increases, reinstating defined-benefit pensions for newly hired workers and ending pay scales within unions are also on the table.

The union went on strike on September 15 after failing to reach agreement on new contracts with Ford, General Motors and Jeep maker Stellantis.

It initially targets one assembly plant per company. Last week, the company added 38 new parts distribution centers operated by GM and Stellantis. Ford avoided a second escalation as talks with unions were making progress.

It was unclear whether Ford would survive Friday’s action. The union did not say what action it would take on Friday and reiterated that all options were under consideration.

Fein said on Tuesday that talks were progressing slowly and the union would add facilities for a strike if necessary to increase pressure on the automakers.

“We’re still working with those three companies. It’s slower,” Fein said after speaking with workers on a picket line near Detroit alongside President Joe Biden. “It’s a bargain. Sometimes you feel like you take two steps forward and the next day you take one step back.”

The way the union organized the strike allowed the companies to continue producing pickup trucks and large SUVs, their best-selling and most profitable vehicles. The company has closed assembly plants in Missouri, Ohio and Michigan that built midsize pickup trucks, commercial vans and midsize SUVs, all of which are profitable but don’t make as much money as larger vehicles. many.

In the past, unions have selected a company as a potential strike target and reached a contractual agreement with the company that has served as a model for other companies.

But this year, Fain has launched a novel strategy of targeting all three automakers with a limited number of facilities while threatening to add more if the companies don’t come up with better offers.

Currently, only about 12% of the 146,000 unionized workers at the three major automakers are on strike, leaving the unions with $825 million in strike funds until Sept. 14.

If all unionized autoworkers went on strike, the fund would be depleted in less than three months, and that doesn’t include health care costs.

Koenig reported from Dallas.

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