UAW Strike and Demands for Wage Increase

The UAW strike plan and demands for a 46% wage increase, shorter working hours of 32 hours per week instead of 40 hours per week, and restoration of traditional pensions were the three main demands made by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union in the past.

The more aggressive demands have put pressure on General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis. UAW President Shawn Fain said the demands were "bold" and if they were not met, the UAW would go on strike.

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain greets workers at the Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, to mark the beginning of contract negotiations in Sterling Heights, Michigan, U.S. July 12, 2023. (Photo: Rebecca Cook | Reuters)

The automaker's factories, which have made billions of dollars in profits, have refused to meet the UAW's demands. They say the demands are unrealistic amid stiff competition from Tesla and low-wage foreign automakers, as well as the world's shift from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles.

A wider gap between the two sides means strikes at one or two automakers are getting bigger. This is suspected to make the already high vehicle prices soar.

Strike Plan

The potential strike by the UAW's 146,000 members comes amid the growing emboldened of all types of unions in the United States. The number of strikes and strike threats — involving even Hollywood actors and writers, rail network workers, and corporate giants like UPS — continues to rise.

Shawn Fain, who won the presidency of UWA last spring in the first direct election by union members, has set high expectations, and assured union members that they can make significant gains if they follow UWA's plan.

Also, read: Arm shares jump more than 20% in IPO.

In a speech to a crowd at a Labor Day parade in Detroit, Fain said if auto companies cannot demonstrate fairer labor contracts "then we will take action to meet our demands, by any means necessary."

Fain described talk of labor contracts with car manufacturers in Detroit as a form of war between billionaires and ordinary middle-class workers.

In a proficiency test on Facebook Live last month, Fain condemned Stellantis' proposed employment contract as "garbage" and threw it in the wastebasket "where it belongs," he said.

Big Profit "The Detroit Three"

In the past decade, "The Detroit Three" — which includes General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis — has emerged as auto companies making tremendous profits. Over the past ten years, the three companies have collectively posted net profits of $164 billion. A total of $20 billion of them will be achieved in 2023 alone. The CEOs of the three automakers receive annual compensation worth millions of dollars.

Speaking to Ford workers at a factory in Louisville, Kentucky, last month, Fain complained about one standard for the corporate class and the other for workers.

"They got the salary out of control. They get pensions they don't even need. They get the best health care. They work according to the schedule they want. While our union members do not get pensions, healthcare is substandard, and can never work remotely. It's crazy," he said.

Members of the UAW have authorized its leaders to go on strike. The same thing was done by Canadian auto workers who targeted Ford.

The UAW has not said whether it will pick one automaker as its target, meaning one of the big three manufacturers in Detroit.

But a strike could drain the union's funds in less than three months. Conversely, according to Anderson Economic Group, if the strike lasts for just 10 days, the three automakers will suffer losses of nearly $1 billion. When UAW workers went on strike for 40 days in 2019, General Motors alone suffered a loss of $3.6 billion.

The union last week filed a lawsuit over unfair labor practices against General Motors and Stellantis, which they said has not retaliated. Regarding Ford, Fain said by rejecting most of the workers' demands, "they insult the value of the work we do."

All three automakers deny the union's unfounded allegations and are working on a fair deal that allows them to invest in the future.

Iklan Atas Artikel

Iklan Tengah Artikel 1

Iklan Tengah Artikel 2

Iklan Bawah Artikel