General Motors on Wednesday said the company temporarily closed its assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas, because auto workers striking at a St. Louis area plant left them with “no work available.”
The assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, provides parts to the Fairfax plant in northeast Wyandotte County, but because of striking there, the company said it “idled” the Fairfax plant and its 2,000 employees Wednesday.
“The team members at Fairfax are not expected to return until the situation has been resolved,” GM wrote in a statement.
The company said it will not provide workers the benefit of supplemental unemployment pay during this time because of the circumstances of the strike.
As the United Auto Workers union continues to negotiate contracts with Detroit’s three major automakers, it has targeted strikes at three vehicle assembly plants: the one in Missouri; a Ford factory in Wayne, Michigan, near Detroit; and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio. Earlier this week, union leadership threatened to expand the strike if progress isn’t made in the negotiations, the AP reported.
Dontay Wilson, president of UAW Local 31, which represents workers at the Fairfax plant, said workers there were prepared to strike if need be. The union set up strike pantry if people wanted to donate water or non-perishable goods to workers while the plant is closed.
“No one’s attempting to become millionaires on General Motors’ dime,” he said Monday, adding that workers were just “asking for our fair share.”
The Fairfax plant produces the Chevy Malibu sedan and the Cadillac XT4 crossover SUV. It employs 2,234 people, according to a company website.
The other local plant, the Ford assembly plant in Claycomo, produces F-150 pickup trucks and Transit vans. It employs roughly 7,250 people.
The UAW is demanding a 36% boost in pay, and the automakers — General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler — have countered with offers that are roughly half of that increase, the Associated Press has reported.
The strike is the first against all three companies at the same time in the union’s 80-year history.