OAN’s James Meyers
1:37 PM – Friday, September 15, 2023
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union went on strike on Friday at three plants owned by the Big Three automakers, which includes General Motors (GM), Stellantis and Ford.
This comes after the two sides could not reach a new labor deal on Thursday night as the industry begins a costly transition from gas guzzlers to electric vehicles.
Currently, the workers are striking at a GM plant in Wentzville, Missouri, a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan and a Stellantis plant in Toledo, Ohio. UAW President Shawn Fain said, plants that were not called upon to strike will work without a contract.
“The UAW Stand Up Strike begins at all three of the Big Three,” the union said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“As time goes on, more locals may be called on to ‘Stand Up’ and join the strike,” the union told members. “This gives us maximum leverage and maximum flexibility in our fight to win a fair contract at each of the Big Three automakers.”
In total, almost 13,000 of the UAW’s 145,000 members walked off their job site.
“These were chosen carefully by the UAW and reflect a strategy that will ensure a large number of suppliers and dealers are affected, while reducing the number of UAW workers that, at least initially, are on strike and receiving strike pay,” said Patrick Anderson, CEO of Anderson Economic Group.
The historic strike came after automakers did not agree to the union’s demands of increased wages, benefits, and job protections for its members after automakers reported almost record profits. The union was asking for benefits they claimed they lost over a decade ago when the automaker companies were low on cash and on the verge of bankruptcy.
The UAW president said the union is seeking over a 40% pay increase for rank-and-file members over four years.
However, the automakers offered the union double-digit pay increases but it was not enough to meet their demands.
Currently, full-time assembly plant workers at Ford and GM earn $32.32 an hour, while part-time employees make close to $17 an hour. At Stellantis, full-time employees earn $31.77 an hour, and part-time workers earn close to $16 an hour.
Additionally, the UAW is asking for all temporary workers to be made permanent, cost-of-living adjustments, increases in pension benefits for current retirees and restoring pensions for new hires.
Fain has said the demands are the “most audacious and ambitious list of proposals they’ve seen in decades.”
According to experts, the strike could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.
According to the Anderson Economic Group, they are estimating that a 10-day work stoppage could cost almost $5.6 billion.
“Even a short strike would impact economies throughout Michigan and across the nation,” said Patrick Anderson, CEO of the Anderson Economic Group.
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