United Auto Workers Union Launch Strike At Big Three Automakers, Demanding Higher Wages And Benefits
In a significant development, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union initiated a strike after negotiations with the Big Three automakers — General Motors, Ford Motors, and Stellantis — failed regarding improved wages and benefits, NBC News reports.
At midnight on Aug. 15, employees walked off the job at a General Motors site in Missouri, a Stellantis location in Ohio, and a Ford site in Michigan. The strike has been brewing for a while as poor labor conditions have been a point of contention between the Big Three automakers and union workers for years. With UAW employees on strike, the economy in the Midwest could be on the brink of collapse, say some experts.
The strike is expected to cause a vehicle shortage, compelling consumers to turn to nonunion businesses for car purchases, resulting in a notable price increase, according to NBC News.
This does not bode well for automaker companies, as a global computer chip shortage during the height of the pandemic already caused a major financial pitfall.
Meanwhile, Republican politicians are forced into a tight spot by this union move. While some Republican lawmakers express support for fairer wages, others suggest that the Biden administration intentionally allowed the strike to occur in largely Republican states in the Midwest as a political move.
Senator J.D. Vance from Ohio questioned the timing and location of the strikes, raising concerns about potential ulterior motives behind the involvement of the Biden administration.
“Now that negotiations have failed to conclude in time to avert a strike, your involvement deserves further scrutiny,” Vance wrote. “Perhaps these are mere coincidences, but your involvement supplies a different explanation and raises questions about the work President Biden enlisted you to do. It is unclear whether your purpose was to facilitate negotiations and avert a strike or to shield President Biden’s policies from scrutiny and protect his and Democrats’ political fortunes. If this is the case, I fear that you have exploited the UAW to protect your boss at the expense of American workers.”
During a rally in downtown Detroit on Aug. 16, union president Shawn Fain voiced his frustration, citing the automaker companies’ substantial profits while employee wages remained stagnant or declined. Fain highlighted the stark disparity between worker pay and the billions in profits garnered by the major automakers over recent years, emphasizing the need for equitable treatment and compensation for the workforce.
Fain created a spreadsheet highlighting showing that the major automakers have seen $20 billion in profit within a recent six-month span and a total of $250 billion over the past decade.
“Our workers have went backwards,” he said. “All three of the Big Three have price-gauged American consumers, they’ve ripped off the American taxpayer, and all three have nickel-and-dimed the American worker.”
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