The United Auto Workers (UAW) union began a strike against all three of the major U.S. automakers just moments after midnight Eastern time on Friday morning, as my colleague Matt Vespa at Townhall reported:
They had months to agree on a new contract. It didn’t happen. United Auto Workers are officially on strike against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, formerly Chrysler, in an unprecedented labor strike that could cost billions in lost economic activity.
The Big Three wanted to use its record profits to roll out new electric vehicles, something the Biden administration is keen on, adding that these new concepts carried heavy production costs. The autoworkers union wanted a significant pay raise. It was a 40 percent bump over four years. They walked it back to the mid-30s. And now it seems like it jumped to nearly 50 percent.
The automakers did pitch a counteroffer that UAW President Shawn Fain described as insulting. As the clock struck midnight Friday morning, 146,000 workers had no new contact, with thousands of workers at the Big Three’s factories walking off the job, the first since 2019 (via CNBC).
The strike, though, does not include all of UAW’s members at the automakers’ plants, but as John Sexton at Hot Air wrote, it is a limited action known as a “standing strike”:
As of today, the UAW has announced what they’re calling a standing strike, meaning they are just striking in three factories.
Since no deal was reached before the 11:59 pm ET deadline Thursday in contract negotiations with the Big Three automakers, the United Auto Workers union launched a targeted “stand up” strike at just three auto plants initially.
For UAW members at all other plants, however, they will continue to go to work unless and until they, too, are called to strike. But they now will be working without a contract.
President Joe Biden reacted by urging the two sides to return to the negotiating table in Detroit, sending controversial acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House adviser Gene Sperling there. He said “that while Ford, General Motors and Stellantis had made ‘significant offers,’ he believed that ‘they should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW.'”
Auto companies have seen record profits, including in the last few years, because of the extraordinary skill and sacrifices of UAW workers. But those record profits have not been shared fairly, in my view, with those workers.
However as RedState previously reported, Biden is in a tough position with the union over the Administration’s insistence on pushing EVs (electric vehicles). How workers are paid for work on EVs is a sticking point in the negotiations, and the UAW has not said yet whether it will endorse Biden in the 2024 presidential election.
On Wednesday, UAW President Shawn Fain addressed workers in a video broadcast shared on the union’s Facebook and YouTube pages. He insisted before the strike that “[t]he Big Three can afford to give us our fair share, If they choose not to, they’re choosing to strike themselves. We are not afraid to take action.”
In the lead-up to the strike, on Thursday the X (formerly Twitter) account for the union boasted about its allegedly overwhelming support from the American people, sharing a graphic on data from an August Gallup poll:
— UAW (@UAW) September 14, 2023
In his speech Wednesday, Fain continued:
For the first time in our history, we will strike all three of the ‘Big Three’ at once. We are using a new strategy, the “stand-up” strike. We will call on select facilities, locals or units to stand up and go on strike.
You can watch Fain deliver his full statement below:
Here is the full statement from the UAW President tonight about the strike against Ford, GM and Stellantis: pic.twitter.com/JtS5gc8G2W
— Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) September 15, 2023