Auto industry workers are preparing to walk off the job Friday if an agreement between the United Auto Workers and the ‘Big Three’ U.S. automakers is not reached by midnight Thursday.
UAW President Shawn Fain said workers would strike “targeted locations” at all three – Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (Chystler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram) – in order to keep the companies off balance.
At the heart of the negotiations is how the U.S. auto industry will adjust to the shift to electric vehicles as the automakers – with support from federal and state governments – pour billions into new generations of vehicles.
Workers are demanding raises, return of pensions, and job security, as automakers cash in enormous profits spurred by incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act and private investment, demanding these benefits go to both assembly line workers and battery workers.
Automakers argue they can’t both meet high demands from workers and invest in new technologies to spur the electric vehicle transition. To that, workers say they merely want a fair share of the profits – it says CEOs have enjoyed a 40% increase in pay since the last contract.
“The electric vehicle transition must be as much about workers’ rights as it is about fighting the climate crisis,” Fain wrote in an op-ed in The Guardian with Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif. “We will not let the EV industry be built on the backs of workers making poverty wages while CEOs line their pockets with government subsidies.”