The US car factories of Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors and their suppliers show almost unqualified support for the strike call for improvements in the new agreement. The votes taken during this consultation week have led to a result of support that exceeds 90% in most referendums and, in some cases, close to 100%. It is estimated that the strike, which seems more inevitable by the day, will cost the industry around 460 million euros for every day of unemployment worldwide.
The UAW union has turned to preparations for what could be a major US auto industry strike. Plants are voting this week on the proposed strike so that the Union Auto Workers union can call it if it deems it appropriate based on how negotiations are evolving. The deadline is September 14, when the validity of the collective agreements of the country’s three largest manufacturers and their suppliers ends.
Almost absolute support for the strike
While not all consultations are complete, the 146,000 US workers in the sector are making it clear that they support the mobilization to defend calls for job improvements. In some workplaces, opposition to the strike is an insignificant 1%, according to results released by the UAW on its X (formerly Twitter) account.
Scene outside Stellantis plant in Detroit where UAW President Shawn Fain says if the automakers "don't get their s— together," this is what Sept. 15 will look like. pic.twitter.com/ukl8x1b2t1
— Breana Noble (@BreanaCNoble) August 23, 2023
In recent days, UAW union chairman Shawn Fain has multiplied his presence at protests designed to heat up the atmosphere and pressure companies to take action. At a rally outside a Stellantis plant (which includes the former Chrysler) in Detroit, Fain raised banners summarizing the union’s demands. “That will be seen if there is no agreement,” he warned. A few days earlier, the trade unionists staged the rejection of Stellantis’ cut proposal by throwing the document in the wastebasket.
The union is demanding a staggered wage increase of up to 46% over the next four years and has called for other demands like including workers in the UAW, he warned. Flowers of the plants that produce batteries for electric vehicles The union bases its demands on the companies’ record profits, which totaled $250 billion in the last decade and $21 billion in the first half of this year. The UAW demands that the US follow the negotiations of Volkswagen or Toyota in their home countries.
Biden’s support for the negotiations
“Our priorities are clear, companies can embrace them, and there’s plenty of time for the Big Three to start serious negotiations,” Fain said, referring to the three automakers.
Fain thanked US President Joe Biden for his statement in support of a “fair” deal that includes “good wages” and guarantees workers’ right to form unions. “At this critical time in negotiations, we appreciate President Biden’s support for strong agreements that secure well-paying union jobs and enable a just transition to an electric vehicle future,” Fain said.
A 10-day strike would cost $5,000 million, according to a study by the Anderson Economic Group (AEG). The study estimated that a 10-day strike would cost UAW members $859 million in lost wages. For businesses, the cost would be $989 million. The rest of the losses, up to $5 billion, would be suffered by workers and businesses dependent on the Big Three US manufacturers.