February 25, 2024

The United Automobile Workers Union, which represents thousands of workers at three auto plants located in three Midwestern States, went on strike in a first-ever strike that affected all three Detroit automobile manufacturers.

Negotiations over a new collective agreement remained frozen between the union and General Motors (G.M.), Ford Motor (F), and Stellantis (the parent company of Chrysler) after the current contract expired on Thursday at 11:59 pm.

Workers began to gather in protest as the deadline approached at the targeted plants in Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio.

The strike is expected to start with one automaker’s plant being idled. It could also force automakers in other parts of the Midwest to stop production. This would have a major impact on the local economy.

Shawn Fain said, in a Facebook video, that “we are using a brand new strategy.” “We’re calling on selected locals to go on strike.”

The union has been active for 88 years. It has held strikes against a single automaker, and several have stopped production for a few weeks. G.M. The company and union reached an agreement on a new contract after the plants remained idle for forty days in 2019.

The plants that will be walking out on Friday are only a fraction of the 150,000 U.A.W. members.

Where Autoworkers are Walking Out

The New York Times

The limited strike could, however, hamper automakers, as these sites produce some of their most profitable vehicles, such as the Ford Bronco S.U.V. and the Chevrolet Colorado pickup. Fain also made it clear the walkout may become more widespread if a contract agreement is not reached.

Dennis Devaney is a Detroit labor lawyer and former member of the National Labor Relations Board.

Labor Organizing and Union Drives

  • Microsoft: Celebrating a year that saw major gains for organized labor, the tech giant has announced that it will remain neutral if any U.S. based workers seek to unionize.
  • Starbucks. Federal labor regulators accused Starbucks of closing illegally 23 stores in order to suppress organizing activities and tried to force them to reopen.
  • Tesla:Weeks after mechanics who worked for Tesla in Sweden in late October walked out of their jobs, other union members across the country as well as in Scandinavia have joined in the strike to show solidarity.
  • Amazon More than a year after Staten Island workers voted to create the company’s very first union in the United States. Amazon seems to be taking a more aggressive stance toward labor organization.

G.M. The affected plants include a G.M. Only workers in the paint shop and assembly area of Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant, Wayne, where the Bronco is made alongside the Ranger truck, will leave, according to Mr. Fain.

According to the union, G.M. According to the union, the G.M. Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant will be affected by the union, which said that about 3,300 employees would be affected.

The union demanded that wages be increased by 40 percent over the next four-year period, noting that compensation packages of chief executives at the three companies had increased in average by that amount over the past four years.

Mr. Fain who became union president in this year has also asked for cost of living adjustments to increase wages to keep up with inflation. He’s also requested shorter workweeks for retirees, improved health care and pensions for retired workers, and job-security measures such as the right to strike in plants that have been designated for closure. He also wants to change the wage scale, which starts new hires out at $17 per hour. It takes eight years to reach the highest U.A.W. The wage is $32 per hour.

Mary T. Barra said, in a video that was posted on the company’s website, “We made a compelling, unprecedented offer.” It addresses what you have told us is most important: wage growth and job security, as well as long-term stability.

She suggested that meeting all or most of the demands of the union could harm the company’s future prospects, as it has invested tens and tens billions in its shift to electric vehicles.

She said, “We’re at a crossroads in our journey to transform the business.” “Make no mistakes: If we do not continue to invest, then we will lose out quickly. “No one wins in a striking situation.”

Ford and Stellantis made new proposals in 48 hours to the union but did not reveal details.

The Biden administration announced Thursday that President Biden spoke with Mr. Fain as well as leaders of the automobile companies regarding the current status of negotiations. Biden, according to a senior White House official, was not pressuring the companies or unions on specifics but was encouraging them to remain at the table to ensure that workers received a fair contract.

The U.A.W. demanded a significant increase in pay and benefits, a far cry from the 20 years ago when automakers were struggling and the union was forced to make major concessions. The U.A.W. was forced to make major concessions in order to save the companies.

G.M. Ford and Stellantis, however, have reported near-record profits in recent years. Ford and G.M. both made $3.7 billion in the first half this year. Ford made $3.7 billion and G.M. Stellantis reported profits in the region of 11 billion Euros (roughly $11.9 billion).

Mr. Fain was an electrician for Chrysler before becoming president. He also worked in the union’s administration. He campaigned on a promise to be more aggressive and confrontational during this year’s negotiations.

In his speeches to union members, he has often emphasized the salaries of automakers’ C.E.O.s. Last year, Barra earned $29 million. Jim Farley, of Ford, made $21 millions, and Carlos Tavares was the chief executive officer at Stellantis.

A prolonged strike would reduce the availability of new cars and increase prices. A prolonged strike would have a ripple effect on the supply chain of automakers and other businesses, as workers are only paid $500 per week for their union’s strike.

The auto industry continues to deal with the effects of the pandemic. The coronavirus caused a sharp reduction in the number of cars available.

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