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UAW sets September deadline for Big Three strike

Aug. 29, 2023
The United Auto Workers' union contracts with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis expire in weeks, and workers overwhelmingly authorized a potential strike. It would be the largest UAW strike since 2019.

United Auto Workers union members voted to authorize a strike against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis if an agreement is not met by mid-September, according to an August 25 statement from the union.

While this doesn’t mean a strike is inevitable, the UAW vote authorizes union leadership to declare a strike if negotiations fail to develop new contracts by September 14. GM and Stellantis moved last week to increase inventory by about 8% over the past two months—possibly in preparation for a work stoppage—the Detroit Free Press reported.

The potential Big Three strike would be the biggest vehicle-maker strike since more than 48,000 UAW workers at GM set up picket lines in 2019.

See also: As rates still lag, trucking forecast is cloudy going into 2024

Labor contention has been brewing across the nation this year. UPS workers, represented by the Teamsters union, came within days of striking this summer before coming to terms with the No. 2 for-hire FleetOwner 500 fleet. Teamster drivers also threatened to strike at Yellow, No. 6 on the FleetOwner 500, this summer before the company went bankrupt

In 2021, about 2,900 UAW workers at Volvo Trucks North America’s New River Valley truck assembly plant went on strike for about four months before eventually ratifying a six-year agreement. Less than two years before that, about 3,500 UAW workers at six Mack Trucks manufacturing facilities walked out for less than two weeks before agreeing to a new four-year deal. That strike coincided with nearly 50,000 UAW workers for GM going on a 31-day strike that cost the OEM an estimated $2 billion in 2019. 

“Our union’s membership is clearly fed up with living paycheck-to-paycheck while the corporate elite and billionaire class continue to make out like bandits,” Shawn Fain, UAW president, said on August 25. 

Fain was elected union president in March after campaigning on promises to negotiate aggressively with the Big Three and has maintained a combative stance since negotiations began in July.

Fain revealed a series of demands from the union via a live address on Facebook in early August. The list includes eliminating wage tiers, higher wages, restored cost-of-living adjustments, the right for union members to strike over plant closures, limits on temporary workers, and more benefits for retirees, including reestablished medical benefits.

Read more coverage of the UAW strike authorization at the Big Three automakers by our colleague Ryan Secard, associate editor at FleetOwner affiliate IndustryWeek, an Endeavor Business Media publication. 

About the Author

FleetOwner Staff

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