General Motors and Stellantis joined Ford in laying off employees on Wednesday as the three automakers contend with manufacturing disruptions caused by the ongoing United Auto Workers strike.
After warning its team members over the weekend that workforce reductions would be forthcoming if an agreement was not reached with the union in time, General Motors paused production at its Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas, leaving 2,000 employees without a job. Although the facility was not directly targeted by striking United Auto Workers members, according to a company statement, the move was necessary due to a “shortage of critical stampings” resulting from employee walkouts at a separate facility in Missouri. The UAW has so far coordinated full-scale strikes at just three plants, each one owned by a different member of the Big-Three.
Stellantis announced its layoffs sometime before General Motors, affecting three plants across Ohio and Indiana. Roughly 370 positions were cut due to what the automaker described as “storage constraints.” Similar to GM’s Kansas facility, the three factories were not the targets of union strikes but were nonetheless impacted due to walkouts at a different campus. Parts made at the three sites are used in Jeep production at the Toledo Assembly Complex, which is currently unable to receive shipments as it is one of the facilities initially targeted by the United Auto Workers union.
Including workforce reductions enacted by Ford over the weekend, the total number of layoffs related to the strike currently stands at almost 3,000. Earlier this week, UAW president Shawn Fain dismissed the notion that the union would dial back its demands in the face of layoffs, commenting: “Their plan won’t work.” The organization has also promised to leverage its $835 million strike fund to supplement the income of members affected by labor cuts. More United Auto Workers strikes are expected to launch on Friday, given an ultimatum announced by Fain earlier this week. “We’re not waiting around, and we’re not messing around,” he commented. “So, noon on Friday, September 22, is a new deadline.” With less than a day left to negotiate, it seems unlikely that enough progress will be made to avert additional conflict. Given that employee walkouts at just three plants are forcing ancillary facilities to slow operations, manufacturer employees are likely bracing for a tidal wave of closures and layoffs as more holes are poked in the automotive industry’s complicated manufacturing and supply network.