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A strike has been initiated by the United Auto Workers union, affecting nearly 13,000 workers and the country’s three major car manufacturers.
Early on Friday, UAW members started picketing at plants managed by General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis following a deadlock in the negotiations between the union and the companies over contract terms and wages. The strike, involving roughly 12,700 workers across Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio, threatens to stop popular vehicles’ production lines, including the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, and Chevrolet Colorado.
What the union wants:
The union is fighting for a 36% wage increase over four years and the abolition of a tiered salary system that mandates workers to serve eight years before qualifying for the same pay as experienced colleagues.
What the automakers want:
The “Big Three” car manufacturers have countered with a 17.5-20% pay increase offer, a proposal that ignores other benefits and adjustments to the wage structure sought by the union.
UAW President Shawn Fain indicated that the union is not considering a wider general strike presently but noted that “all options would be on the table” if an agreement on new contracts remains elusive. “They could double our raises and not raise car prices and still make millions of dollars in profits,” Fain argued, pinpointing “corporate greed” as the central issue.
Ford maintained that they have been negotiating in “good faith” to prevent the strike and expressed their dedication to finding a resolution that “rewards our employees and protects Ford’s ability to invest in the future.” GM and Stellantis remained silent, releasing no statements before the strike’s midnight deadline. However, Gerald Johnson, a senior executive at GM, had previously said that fulfilling UAW’s demands would incur costs that would be “absolutely impossible to absorb.”