UAW Members Pass Strike Authorization Vote

Written by Ethan Bernard

The United Autoworkers (UAW) union said Friday its strike authorization vote passed “with near universal approval” from its members at the Detroit 3 automakers.

UAW president Shawn Fain said the current combined average across the 150,000 union workers at Ford, General Motors (GM), and Stellantis was 97% in favor of authorizing the strike. Final votes were still being tabulated.

“The Big Three have been breaking the bank while we have been breaking our backs,” Fain said in a statement.

UAW said the strike authorization passed at GM by 96%, at Ford by 98%, and at Stellantis by 95%. It specified that the “vote does not guarantee a strike will be called, only that the union has the right to call a strike if the Big Three refuse to reach a fair deal.”

A spokesperson for Stellantis told SMU in an emailed statement that “the discussions between the company and the UAW’s bargaining team continue to be constructive and collaborative.”

The spokesperson noted there was “a focus on reaching a new agreement that balances the concerns of our 43,000 employees with our vision for the future – one that better positions the business to meet the challenges of the US marketplace and secures the future for all of our employees, their families and our company.”

In an emailed statement to SMU, a Ford spokesperson said the company “is proud to build more vehicles in America and employ more UAW-represented hourly workers in America than any other automaker.”

“We look forward to working with the UAW on creative solutions during this time when our dramatically changing industry needs a skilled and competitive workforce more than ever,” the spokesperson added.

A GM spokesperson told SMU, “We continue to work hard with the UAW every day and bargain in good faith to ensure we get this agreement right for our team members, our customers, suppliers, the community and the business.” The spokesperson noted that the automaker posts info/background at www.gmnegotiations2023.com.

UAW said its demands include: 1) the elimination of tiered wages and benefits, 2) wage increases to offset inflation and match the generous salary increases of company executives over the last four years, 3) the re-establishment of cost-of-living allowances and defined benefit pensions and retiree healthcare, 4) the right to strike over plant closures, 5) significant increases to current retiree benefits, and 6) more paid time off to be with family.

The current labor agreement is set to expire on Sept. 14 at 11:59 p.m.

Ethan Bernard

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