The decade's most triggering comedy
Around 13,000 auto workers stopped working as picketing began outside a Ford factory in Wayne, Michigan; a GM assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri; and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio. The strike comes after weeks of negotiations between the union and leadership at the automakers.
“We didn’t want to be here. We want a fair agreement. We want fair economic and social justice for our members. That’s what this is all about. And it’s a shame,” said Shawn Fain, president of the auto workers union.
The strike is currently only targeted at three factories as the UAW pushes for a 36% pay bump over a four-year period for workers. Ford and GM said they could do 20% and Stellantis put forth a 17.5% increase over four years, according to the Associated Press.
Other demands by the union are a 32-hour work week with pay for 40 hours, pensions for new employees, and inflation-based pay bumps.
Prior to the strike, GM outlined that, in addition to the 20% pay increase over four years, the company would add “inflation protection,” increase its contributions to retirement health care savings by 25%, and increase vacation time. GM CEO Mary Barra described the offer as a “compelling and unprecedented economic package.”
President Joe Biden, who predicted that a strike would not take place, will reportedly discuss the standoff sometime on Friday.
“No, I’m not worried about a strike until it happens. I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Biden said on Labor Day.
Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of Job Creators Network, slammed Biden in a statement after the strike, saying that the president was in part responsible for the strike.
“President Biden is partly responsible for the economically damaging UAW strike because Bidenflation has caused declining real wages and living standards for ordinary workers, resulting in UAW taking this drastic action to swing the wage pendulum in the other direction. Biden’s pro-union rhetoric, including calling himself the most pro-union president in history, has also contributed to the UAW overplaying its hand with ridiculous compensation demands that threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers, thousands of small businesses that service the big three automakers, and even the automakers themselves,” Ortiz said.
Ford said that a strike “could have wide-ranging consequences for our business and the economy. It also impacts the very 57,000 UAW-Ford workers we are trying to reward with this contract.”
Stellantis, who had about 5,800 employees in Ohio stop work making the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, said it was “disappointed” by the strike.
“We are extremely disappointed by the UAW leadership’s refusal to engage in a responsible manner to reach a fair agreement in the best interest of our employees, their families and our customers,” a statement from Stellantis said. “We immediately put the Company in contingency mode and will take all the appropriate structural decisions to protect our North American operations and the Company,” the company added.