Auto workers union warns more plants will take the picket line if no deal reached by Friday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – The UAW President said more auto plants could go on strike as union negotiations continue Tuesday morning, day five of the strike.

The UAW is now emphasizing progress by noon on Friday or more locals will be called to the picket lines, like some of the 2,000 workers at the GM Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

A Rockhurst University Accounting Professor met with KCTV5 Monday, day four of the strike, to share his opinions on what this all means and how it could get resolved.

Professor Tony Tocco said the UAW demand for a 36% wage increase over four years is a hefty one. It’s not the demand with the biggest potential impact on the automakers though as the bigger issue is the UAW wanting pensions for its workers.

Workers got a pension in retirement in the past with some still having it, but the companies switched to 401k’s six years ago. Tocco said it’s complicated for companies with 401k’s because they have to have enough money to pay for all future liabilities, making it a massive guessing game with a massive amount of money.

He said neither side would be able to hold out for long before the government steps in. The Associated Press reports the strike is limited to about 13,000 workers at the big three factories so far.

“Within 30 days, 30 days, there will be government intervention. I will guarantee it. And I’ll bet you on it,” he said. “They aren’t going to let this happen for any longer. The government’s going to step up and somewhere along the line bring them to the table and they’re going to be forced to negotiate.”

Another reason they are being aggressive now is that companies like the big three may not want workers inside the doors anymore in four years – but more robots with the anticipation that AI becomes more prominent.

Workers at the Wentzville General Motors Plant are walking the picket lines now impacting what can be done there in KCK, which could ultimately impact many more employees and customers.

Tocco said it’s going to come down to who blinks first in the fight and believes that the UAW may not get all they want. he said that 70-75% of what they are asking for is a win for the UAW and a win for the companies wanting to get back to work.

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