The United Auto Workers union (UAW) announced a strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers on Thursday, saying that members would not be showing up for work at three plants.
This is the first time in history that the 146,000-member union has simultaneously gone on strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, according to Reuters. The UAW announced that they would be striking at three auto manufacturing plants, one for each company, while not yet committing to a complete strike for all its members.
“Then as now, we face massive inequality across our society,” the UAW said in a statement on Wednesday. “Then as now, our industry is rapidly changing and workers are being left behind. Then as now, our labor movement is redefining itself. This is a strike that grows over time, giving our national negotiators maximum leverage and maximum flexibility to win a record contract.”
— UAW (@UAW) September 14, 2023
The union initially demanded a 46% increase in wages over five years, and to only work a 32-hour work week while getting paid for a 40-hour work week, a return to traditional pensions and retiree health care plans, cost-of-living adjustments and job assurances as the Big Three has sought to expand its electric vehicle (EV) operations, according to Bloomberg.
As of Thursday, the UAW lowered their wage-hike demand to 36% from 46%, and General Motors had offered the union a 20% pay raise, according to Forbes.
The UAW has also been critical of President Joe Biden’s push for EVs, fearing that the transition away from gas-powered vehicles to all-electric cars that require less parts to produce will lower the demand for labor, according to Politico. The union also criticized the Biden administration for issuing multi-billion dollar green energy loans for car companies in red states such as Kentucky that it claims offers “no consideration for wages, working conditions, union rights or retirement security,” according to a June tweet.
“I think our strike can reaffirm to [Biden] of where the working-class people in this country stand and, you know, it’s time for politicians in this country to pick a side,” UAW President Shawn Fain told CNBC. “Either you stand for a billionaire class where everybody else gets left behind, or you stand for the working class, the working-class people vote.”
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