The United Auto Workers escalated its strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers for the second day in a row on Tuesday, this time targeting General Motors' largest and most profitable facility.
Hours after GM reported its third-quarter earnings, the union announced it is shutting down the company's Arlington Assembly plant in Texas, sending its 5,000 workers there off the production lines and onto the picket lines.
"Another record quarter, another record year. As we’ve said for months: record profits equal record contracts." UAW President Shawn Fain said in a statement announcing the move. "It’s time GM workers, and the whole working class, get their fair share."
GM's Arlington plant produces the automaker's Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs, and Cadillac Escadales and Escalade-V models.
In reaction to the strike action, GM issued a statement saying, "We are disappointed by the escalation of this unnecessary and irresponsible strike. It is harming our team members who are sacrificing their livelihoods and having negative ripple effects on our dealers, suppliers, and the communities that rely on us."
GM CEO Mary Barra had addressed the UAW's strike in a letter to shareholders that accompanied the automakers' third-quarter earnings earlier in the day. She said the company's latest proposal to the union would mean the majority of GM workers would make $40.39 per hour, or roughly $84,000 a year by the end of the four-year term of the contract.
"Since negotiations started this summer, we’ve been available to bargain 24/7 on behalf of our represented team members and our company," Barra wrote. "They’ve [the UAW] demanded a record contract — and that’s exactly what we’ve offered for weeks now: a historic contract with record wage increases, record job security and world-class healthcare."
"It’s an offer that rewards our team members but does not put our company and their jobs at risk," Barra added. "Accepting unsustainably high costs would put our future and GM team member jobs at risk, and jeopardizing our future is something I will not do."
The UAW's targeting of GM's Arlington plant means the union is now striking against each of the Big Three's most profitable assembly plants, after shutting down production at Stellantis' Sterling Heights Assembly plant in Michigan on Monday, and hitting Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville earlier this month.
The UAW launched its simultaneous strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis on Sept. 15, starting with one assembly plant at each of the Big Three. The union has steadily added further strike targets against all the automakers as contract negotiations have dragged on.
The union is seeking 40% raises over the life of the contracts, and says the automakers are each offering pay hikes of 23%. Fain said last week that the strike would continue because there is "more to be won" from the companies.
The addition of GM's Arlington plant brings the total number of UAW members on strike at the Big Three to more than 45,000 of the nearly 150,000 total across the automakers.
The shutdown of the production lines from the strike have led to layoffs at other plants where work has dried up. Strike-related layoffs have now reached 2,330 at GM, 3,167 at Ford and 1,520 at Stellantis.
As of the strike's fifth full week, it had already cost the U.S. auto industry at least $9.3 billion, according to the latest data from Michigan consulting firm Anderson Economic Group.
FOX Business' Grady Trimble and Philip Bodinet contributed to this report.