- Unprecedented Strike Hits Three Major US Automakers
- Dispute Over Labor Agreements Threatens Industry Disruption
- Demands and Economic Impact of the Strike
As the current contract expired on Thursday, the UAW’s president Shawn Fain said it was now up to the companies to resolve the dispute.
“It will end when they start taking care of their employees,” he said.
The facilities are essential to the production of several of the “Detroit Three’s” most profitable automobiles.
Other UAW facilities will continue to operate, but the strikes may be expanded beyond the first three targets.
A simultaneous strike against all three companies is unprecedented in the union’s history.
As Thursday’s deadline approached, the White House reported that President Joe Biden had discussed the negotiations by phone with Mr. Fain, but provided no additional information. Mr. Biden addressed the action in his Friday remarks.
The union wanted a 40% wage rise for its 140,000 members over four years, citing industry leaders’ increases.
Other conditions included:
- a business week of four days
- The return of inflation-based automatic compensation increases
- Greater restrictions on the length of time workers can be deemed “temporary” without receiving union benefits.
As of Wednesday, the three companies’ proposals had been enhanced to include up to a 20% pay increase.
After years of record profits, workers asserted that firms could afford to be more generous.
Paul Raczka, an employee at a Stellantis plant in Michigan that manufactures Jeep Grand Cherokees, stated, “We are entitled to this.”
Mr. Raczka, the fourth generation of his family to work in the industry, stated that such jobs, which included excellent healthcare and secure pensions, had afforded his parents an “awesome living” – a way of life that no longer seems feasible.
The 31-year-old claimed he could not even afford to purchase the automobile he manufactures.
“We are still on the back burner while these CEOs earn more than $20 million per year,” he said.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who earned $28 million last year, called the offer “historic.”
According to estimates by the Anderson Economic Group, a 10-day strike by all 140,000 employees could cost the three companies nearly $1bn (£800m) and the employees nearly $900m in lost salaries. It was stated that the cumulative economic impact could exceed $5 billion.
Vice-president of the company Tyler Theile stated that a suspension would have to be “pretty lengthy” to affect national economic indicators, but warned that the local impact will be significant.
Since the pandemic-related components shortage, car supply was much lower before the strike.
According to analysts, a prolonged strike could also result in higher prices for consumers.
Ford, GM, and Stellantis account for approximately 40% of U.S. automobile sales, but their market share has decreased dramatically over the past quarter century as foreign companies such as Toyota make inroads.
Participants of the UAW are scheduled to receive $500 per week in strike benefits from the union, but she stated that the amount would still be substantially less than her weekly salary.
Ms. Kelly, who resides near Detroit, stated that she supported the fight despite the cost, noting that her salary has not kept up with inflation and is rapidly consumed by childcare and housing costs. The 33-year-old stated that she had only two weeks of vacation per year, which she had to use for exigencies.
“At the end of the day, we all desire to work for a profitable corporation. We simply want our fair portion,” she stated.
“The CEOs are gonna keep paying themselves more and more money and we’re the only ones being left behind.”