LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — UAW announced Friday its members will begin striking at the General Motor Lansing Delta Township assembly plant, where many Lansing area workers walked off the job just as they did in 2019.
An autoworkers strike last came to Lansing in 2019 when nearly 50,000 UAW workers walked off their jobs at GM.
A key difference between the strike in 2019, and the current strike is GM was the sole target.
Current UAW President Shawn Fain has broken from long-held precedent by having the strike simultaneously target each member of the Big Three.
The 2019 strike was launched over issues such as healthcare costs, making it easier for temps to get full-time employment and the looming closure of some of GM’s American factories.
UAW workers posted on the street in front of the GM Lansing Grand River plant bearing the brunt of chilly, rainy October weather became a familiar downtown fixture, as did the sound of drivers honking their horns in support.
The strike had an impact throughout the Lansing community. Many local businesses and residents chipped in support, such as providing free food to strikers, and other workers in jobs related to the auto industry were faced with layoffs.
The 2019 strike lasted 40 days, stretching from Sept. 15 until Oct. 25, the longest strike at the time since 1970, before UAW and GM agreed to a deal. Though union leaders gave the deal the thumbs-up on Oct. 16, the strike continued until all UAW members were able to vote on its approval.
Notably, the Teamsters joined the 2019 UAW strike in solidarity, refusing to deliver vehicles assembled by GM.
The 2019 agreement saw increased wages, a clearer path for temps to become full-time, and a signing bonus as members returned to work as recoupment for lost wages during the work stoppage.
Other terms of the deal included a concession to GM’s decision to close three factories: the Lordstown Assembly plant, the Baltimore Transmission plant and the Warren Transmission plant.
2019 was the largest strike in several decades, though a brief strike against GM took place in 2007, UAW had not organized such a large-scale labor movement since the 1970 GM strike.
Following the 1970 strike, which was lasted 67 days, the decade saw UAW membership at a high point, with more than 1.5 million in the union by 1979. Today that number is fewer than 500,000.
The latest update on the 2023 strike came Friday when Fain announced that negotiations haven’t broken down, but meaningful progress has not been made with Ford and GM. Stellantis, which produces Jeep vehicles, was spared from the third round of strikes.