The UAW is considering a break with tradition, moving to targeted strikes at specific Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Stellantis NV plants, and there are no better candidates than the ones making America’s most sought-after vehicles for years running.
Citi analyst Itay Michaeli said in a note Wednesday the candidates, in his view, are the GM plant in Arlington, Texas, and Ford’s truck plant in Louisville, Ky.
The GM plant produces the Chevy Suburban, the GMC Yukon, and the Cadillac Escalade. GM in June said it would invest more than $500 million in the plant, calling it a bid to “strengthen our industry-leading full-size SUV business.”
Ford’s Kentucky truck plant produces F-Series Super Duty vehicles as well as the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator.
Other U.S. truck plants include Ford’s Dearborn, Mich., plant making F-150 pickup trucks and its all-electric version, the Lightning.
GM’s Flint, Mich., plant, the company’s longest-running U.S. factory, makes the heavy-duty versions of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. GM’s Fort Wayne, Ind., plant builds Chevy Silverado 1500s and GMC Sierra 1500s.
Stellantis STLA, -0.58% makes Jeep Cherokees and Dodge Durangos in Detroit, and its assembly complex in Toledo, Ohio, makes Jeep Gladiators and Jeep Wranglers. Most of its Dodge Ram trucks are made in Mexico, and its Chrysler vans in Canada.
Shares of Ford slipped 0.2% in premarket trading Friday and GM’s stock dropped 1.4%, while Stellantis shares tacked on 0.8%.
The Associated Press and others reported late Tuesday that the UAW leadership is considering a strategy of targeted strikes at a limited number of plants. That could also mean a longer labor action.
The UAW said earlier Wednesday it had recently raised strike pay to $500 a week per member, and that it has more than $825 million in its strike fund.
The union’s contracts with the Big Three automakers expire Thursday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. Going back many years, the UAW has chosen one company at which to strike, mostly to preserve its strike fund and picket-line firepower.
The 2019 strike at GM lasted nearly six weeks and involved about 50,000 autoworkers.
A strike vote could be called shortly after the contract expiration, and perhaps even ahead of the deadline. Workers would put down their tools immediately after a vote to strike, and assembly lines would come to a halt. UAW workers are unlikely to cross the picket line.
Shares of Ford and GM have gained 4% and 3% so far this week, compared with gains of 0.5% for the S&P 500 index SPX. In the year to date, Ford has gained 10%, while GM shares have advanced 0.9%, underperforming an advance of around 17% for the S&P.