Nearly 13,000 auto workers are on strike at three Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Stellantis N.V. plants making mostly SUVs, but the real pain for the carmakers could start soon if the labor action moves to plants producing pickup trucks.
That’s from analysts at Evercore ISI, who added in a note that the companies’ pickup-truck plants are likely the next target of the United Auto Workers union.
The strike “could hit max pain” for the automakers if that happens, given that SUVs and pickup trucks are their most profitable vehicles, the analysts said.
The UAW called the strike at midnight Thursday after the contract expiration deadline came and went without an agreement.
The union called for 3,600 workers to walk out at the GM
plant in Wentzville, Mo., which makes some of the carmaker’s midsize trucks and full-size vans, including the Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon.
Also on strike are about 3,300 employees at a Ford
plant in Wayne, Mich., who work in final assembly and paint, and 5,800 workers at Stellantis’s
Toledo, Ohio, plant, which makes Jeep Gladiators and Wranglers.
The UAW’s “stand up” strike strategy of choosing specific plants at all three carmakers is a big break in tradition. Going back many years, the union would choose one company at which to strike in order to preserve its strike fund and picket-line resources.
Pickup-truck plants that could be the next ones called to strike include the GM plant in Arlington, Texas, and the Ford plant in Louisville, Ky.
GM produces the Chevy Suburban, the GMC Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade in Arlington, and Ford’s Louisville 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, which produces F-150 pickup trucks, including the 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 makes Jeep Cherokees and Dodge Durangos at its complex in Detroit.
Shares of Ford, GM and Stellantis were trading higher in midday trading. In the year to date, Ford’s stock has gained 9%, GM has risen 1.3% and Stellantis has gone up 35%. Those gains compare with a 16% advance for the S&P 500