PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The national strike of United Auto Workers has expanded into Oregon as Beaverton workers join the picket line.
The strike, which started at three plants, is growing to 38 sites on Friday — including the workers at the Stellantis facility on Southwest Allen Boulevard.
The expanded strike reached locations in 20 states, but it only affected two of the three car companies, Stellantis and General Motors. The union said their negotiations with Ford have made progress, so they chose not to expand the strike there.
Workers are seeking a pay increase of 46% over four years because the UAW said that’s how much the pay of the big three’s top executives has increased around that same amount while workers’ wages have been minimal.
“Something that’s a living wage for people,” Rob Perdue, the president of UAW Local 492, said. “We have folks who are paycheck to paycheck, can’t even buy the products that we build, can’t afford to service their cars.”
Grant Wagner, a Stellantis plant employee, said the cost for their labor is “only 4% the cost of vehicle…and they’re raking in billions, they absolutely can give people fair and equitable treatment here.”
The union says they’re trying to get back what they gave up when the companies were struggling in the financial crisis 15 years ago.
“We gave up bonuses, we gave up things for these companies to survive with these promises that we would get some of it back when unfortunately the companies over the years have been slow in giving back anything,” said Rob Perdue, president of UAW Local 492.
They’re also seeking a four-day work week and we found that’s because oftentimes workers are asked to work days longer than eight hours six days a week. Perdue says their jobs are physically demanding.
The Oregon Auto Dealers Association told KOIN 6 the strike won’t affect them or customers unless it goes on for several weeks.
In statements, GM has called the strikes unnecessary. Stellantis called the strikes political. Ford said they’re working diligently to come to an agreement.