Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press
The United Auto Workers union is warning that strikes at additional General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis plants in the U.S. will occur if “serious progress” isn’t made in negotiations by noon ET Friday, the UAW President Shawn Fain announced on Monday night.
The UAW announced last week that nearly 1 in 10 union workers, or about 12,700 members, will be joining targeted strikes at assembly plants for the “Big Three”, but if “serious progress” isn’t made that strike will grow to include even more automaker plants.
“Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the Big Three. We’re not waiting around, and we’re not messing around. So, noon on Friday, September 22nd is a new deadline,” Fain said in a video released online by the union.
“The ‘Stand Up Strike’ is a new approach to striking,” Fain said, referring to the Sit Down Strikes of the 1930s. “Instead of striking all plants all at once, select locals have been called on to ‘Stand Up’and walk out on strike. If the automakers fail to make progress in negotiations and bargain in good faith going forward, more locals will be called on to Stand Up and join the strike.”
The automakers have been making offers to the union that include a 20% hourly wage increase, thousands of bonuses and retention of the union’s platinum health care, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for the union. The union has demanded a 40% hourly pay increase, a reduced 32-hour workweek, a shift back to traditional pensions, the elimination of compensation tiers and a restoration of cost-of-living adjustments, CNBC has reported.
The union received support for President Biden who said that “No one wants to strike. But I respect workers’ right to use their options under the collective bargaining system, and I understand the workers’ frustration” and claimed that the Big 3 automakers should share their “record profit”.
According to the AP, Biden also encouraged the leaders to stay at the bargaining table as long as possible and said that the union should go even further to “ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW.”
Former President Trump has announced that he will be skipping the second GOP Debate scheduled for next Wednesday, and will be traveling to Michigan to meet with the striking autoworkers. This announcement comes despite the union slamming Trump this week, claiming that the former President has “zero credibility”.
Dave Green, a UAW regional director in Ohio and Indiana, said that President Trump’s “only intention here is to try and get votes for himself. And also divide our members against each other using political rhetoric,” adding that he doesn’t see the union ever endorsing Trump.
Ammar Moussa, a Biden campaign spokesperson, said Monday: “Donald Trump is going to Michigan next week to lie to Michigan workers and pretend he didn’t spend his entire failed presidency selling them out at every turn. Instead of standing with workers, Trump cut taxes for the super-wealthy while auto companies shuttered their doors and shipped American jobs overseas.” Moussa also claimed that had a collapse like the 2008-2009 recession occured during President Trump’s time in office, he would have let the auto companies go bankrupt rather than bail them out like President Obama did in 2009.
Trump warned earlier this summer that “auto workers will not have any jobs” because “electric cars, automatically, are going to be made in China”, adding that “The auto workers are being sold down the river by their leadership, and their leadership should endorse Trump.”