The United Auto Workers Union (UAW) has just announced a major strike against America’s top three unionized automakers.
The UAW announced that members would not be showing up for work at Detroit’s Big Three automakers on Friday.
According to Reuters, the historic action is the first time that the 146,000-member union has simultaneously gone on strike against Ford, General Motors (GM), and Stellantis.
UAW President Shawn Fain announced that the strike would begin on Friday at GM’s midsize truck and full-size van plant in Wentzville, Missouri; Ford’s Ranger midsize pickup and Bronco SUV plant in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellantis’ Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio.
However, Fain is not yet committing to a complete strike for all UAW members.
“For the first time in our history, we will strike all three of the ‘Big Three’ at once,” Fain said Thursday in live remarks streamed on Twitter/X.
“We are using a new strategy, the ‘stand-up’ strike.
“We will call on select facilities, locals, or units to stand up and go on strike.”
“Then as now, we face massive inequality across our society,” the UAW said in a Wednesday statement.
“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
According to Bloomberg, 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.
The union also sought 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 Forbes, the UAW lowered their wage-hike demand to 36% from 46%, and GM offered the union a 20% pay raise, as of Thursday.
The UAW has also been critical of Democrat President Joe Biden’s push for EVs.
Many fear that the transition away from gas-powered vehicles to all-electric cars, that require fewer 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.
The UAW claims the move offers “no consideration for wages, working conditions, union rights or retirement security,” according to a June tweet.
"Yesterday, the federal government announced a massive $9.2 billion giveaway loan to Ford Motor Co. through the Department of Energy to create 7,500 low-road jobs with no consideration for wages, working conditions, union rights or retirement security.
— UAW (@UAW) June 23, 2023
“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,” Fain told CNBC on September 6.
“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.”