US auto union’s ‘Stand Up Strike’ enters fourth day

Adam Yanelli


HOUSTON (ICIS)–The United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s “Stand Up Strike” entered its fourth day on Monday, targeting one plant from each of the Big Three automakers amid efforts to improve wages and benefits for its 146,000 members.

The plants are:

  • A General Motors (GM) assembly plant at Wentzville, Missouri;
  • A Stellantis assembly complex at Toledo, Ohio;
  • A Ford assembly plant at Wayne, Michigan.

The union has threatened to expand the strike action to other plants if its demands are not met.

The three plants, which employ about 13,000 workers, make sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and light trucks.

The Ford plant makes the new Bronco and produces about 14,000 units/month.

The GM plant makes the mid-sized trucks Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, and the full-size vans Chevy Express and GMC Savana, pushing out about 20,000 units/month.

The Stellantis plant produces the Jeep Wrangler, the Jeep Gladiator and averages about 22,000 units/month.

The targeted strike affects about 12% of North American production for the Big Three, Ramesh Iyer, director, engineering plastics at Chemical Data (CDI), said.

Iyer said he spoke to a Ford employee who was told by a local union leader that talks were ongoing.

Iyer said previously that the chemicals industry will begin feeling the effects of the strike in about 15 days as he has already seen very attractive spot prices for material in the market, which indicates to him that producers and distributors are trying to reduce inventory.

The petrochemical industry is paying close attention because an extended strike would massively disrupt demand for polymers as a typical vehicle contains nearly $3,950 of chemistry including chemical products and chemical processing.

A UAW strike could slash monthly polymers demand from the Big Three by 26,000 tonnes for polypropylene (PP), 11,000 tonnes each for polyurethanes (PU) and nylon, and 5,000 tonnes each for acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), based on H1 2023 volumes, according to an analysis of industry data obtained by ICIS.

For the US economy as a whole, a prolonged strike and its ripple effects would be a major blow, according to Kevin Swift, ICIS senior economist for global chemicals.

Swift estimates that the impact could be about $2.5bn/day.

Virtually every component of a light vehicle, from the front bumper to the rear taillights, features some chemistry.

The latest data indicate that polymer use is about 437lb (198kg) per vehicle, he said.

Additional reporting by Al Greenwood, Joseph Chang and Stefan Baumgarten

Please also visit the ICIS automotive topic page

Thumbnail image shows sports-utility vehicles sitting at a Chevrolet dealership in Englewood, Colorado. Photo by David Zalubowski/AP/Shutterstock


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