The UPS and the Teamsters Union deal has likely emboldened unionized workers nationwide to threaten companies with strikes for higher wages and better benefits. The latest is United Auto Workers members voted in favor of union leaders reserving the right to strike if no labor contract is agreed upon with the Detroit Three automakers (Stellantis NV, General Motors Co., and Ford Motor Co) in mid-September.
On Friday, UAW President Shawn Fain told members, "97% of you voted to authorize a strike because you know that we do have the power, that we are united and we're not afraid. And we're gonna win. The Big Three's race to the bottom ends on Sept. 14."
The votes are in, and the results are astounding: 97% of Big Three members voted YES to authorize a strike if the automakers don't give us a fair deal.— UAW (@UAW) August 25, 2023
Get strike ready: https://t.co/gbtJCcQMwN pic.twitter.com/ZZ6IwbHUqs
"Our goal is not to strike. I want to make that very clear. Our goal is to bargain good agreements for our members," Fain said during the Facebook Live event. "But all we've tried to do with this is prepare everybody in the event that we have to take action to get a fair and just contract."
UAW President Shawn Fain Announcing Strike Authorization Vote 8/25/23 https://t.co/1WDQKbDstd— UAW (@UAW) August 25, 2023
Fain dismissed extending the existing contract, drawing a hard line in the sand for Detroit Three's auto executives. While contract extensions generally serve as a lifeline during union and company negotiations, he effectively shut that down.
"We have a lot of options that we're looking at but extensions on the contract is not one of them," Fain continued.
He said, "We've been clear" to Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis about "what our priorities are," such as a 46% wage increase, reinstating traditional pensions, and trimming the workweek down from 40 to 32 hours.
Union members practiced picketing earlier this week. One member warned: "We're ready to strike. We're tired."
Harris described a grueling pace (on the assembly line) that left her legs injured and required hospitalization at one point. She said the line moves constantly.— UAW (@UAW) August 25, 2023
“We’re ready to strike. We’re tired,” she said.https://t.co/7xDX0vNeAd
"'None of us want to go on a strike it's a scary place to be. But if we don't fight now we're not gonna have another opportunity to fight this for generations.' Region 9 Director Dan Vicente said."
"'None of us want to go on a strike it’s a scary place to be. But if we don’t fight now we’re not gonna have another opportunity to fight this for generations.' Region 9 Director Dan Vicente said."https://t.co/Iv9dQmzCFN— UAW (@UAW) August 25, 2023
... and this.
Almost time to rage against the Big Three Machine ⏰️ https://t.co/YXUKj66tm3— UAW (@UAW) August 25, 2023
The Detroit-based union has 150,000 workers, and we noted weeks ago, "Automakers have historically resisted significant pay increases, especially this unusually large one."