The United Auto Workers (UAW) expanded their strike at General Motors (GM) and Ford by walking off the job at additional plants, covering about 7,000 workers.
This simultaneous strike against Detroit’s three automakers, including Stellantis, is now in its third week and has a total of 25,000 workers on the picket lines.
Driving the news: The UAW strategically spared Stellantis after last-minute concessions by the Chrysler parent, focusing on GM and Ford. The expanded strike does not include pickup trucks, indicating some level of restraint by the UAW.
- UAW President Shawn Fain expressed dissatisfaction with the progress of negotiations, stating, “Despite our willingness to bargain Ford and GM have refused to make meaningful progress.”
- Stellantis acknowledged the gaps in negotiations but committed to continuing discussions in an expeditious manner.
What they’re saying: Arthur Wheaton, Director of Labor Studies at Cornell University, explained that the UAW aims to reward automakers who are cooperative in negotiations and escalate the strike against those who are not.
- The U.S. has experienced an increase in union activism, with 310,000 workers involved in work stoppages before the UAW strike.
- UAW autoworkers are demanding higher wages, benefits, and the elimination of a two-tier wage system that pays newer workers less.
- Automakers argue that the union’s demands could harm profits as they compete with nonunion manufacturers like Tesla.
- The strike fund of the UAW has $825 million, and workers on the picket lines receive $500 a week from the fund.
- The strike’s impact on automakers has been limited so far, as it has not disrupted the production of large pickup trucks that generate significant profits.
- The UAW and the companies remain far apart on economic issues, with Fain demanding 40% pay hikes over a four-year contract, while the companies have offered around 20%.