UAW “War” with Big Three

In an escalation, the United Auto Workers (UAW) Union strike saw an additional 7,000 members walk off the job, bringing the total to 25,000 members striking. The strike so far has left 40 parts and assembly plants of General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis non-operational. UAW members’ demands include: 40% wage increases in general pay over four years, the restoration of traditional defined-benefit pension for new hires, a return to cost-of-living pay raises, and an end to tier wages that create a disproportionate wage disparity for new members. Thus far, only Stellantis, producer of Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram, has reached a partial agreement with the UAW, preventing further walkouts at their plants.

The Big Three Detroit automakers say UAW demands are too high and that the increases of the UAW would have a company-wide impact on finances, with Ford CEO Jim Farley calling the additional strike “grossly irresponsible.”
The UAW cites record profits for the automakers to defend their demands. Over the last decade, the Detroit automakers have profited over a quarter-trillion dollars, with $21 billion in profits in the first six months of 2023. The wage increase the UAW is demanding is nearly equivalent to the increase in earnings of each of the Big Three CEOs respectively. In a live feed this week, UAW president Shawn Fain had this message for automakers: “[I]t’s the war of the working class versus corporate greed. We are the new arsenal of democracy. The workers are the liberators, and our strike is the vehicle of liberation.”

The UAW strike continues amidst numerous strikes, potential strikes, and walkouts in the U.S. In 2022, there were 424 work stoppages with 417 strikes and seven lockouts. 2022 saw an increase in strikes of 52% from 2021, involving about 224,000 workers.

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