Home Business See UAW workers on the picket lines explain why they’re striking

See UAW workers on the picket lines explain why they’re striking

by Mark Mendoza

Title: Thousands of UAW Ford Workers Strike for Better Wages and Job Security

Subtitle: More than 12,000 workers at the Big Three automakers in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri demand fair compensation and an end to tiered employment system.

Date: September 15, 2023

The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike has hit the Big Three automakers – Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis – with more than 12,000 workers walking out in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri. These workers are demanding higher wages and an end to the tiered employment system that adversely affects newer employees. The strike comes after failed negotiations between the UAW and the automakers, leaving employees frustrated and determined to fight for their rights.

Kevin Ewald, a Ford employee with almost three decades of experience, voiced his concerns about the unfair payment system. He emphasized that newer colleagues should be fairly compensated for the physically demanding work they undertake. Ewald reveals that the striking workers have their limits and deserve better treatment from their employers.

The UAW is demanding a 36 percent wage increase for workers over a period of four years, asserting that current wages have not kept pace with inflation. The disparity between the wages of full-time workers, who earn around $18 to $32 per hour, and the multi-million dollar compensation of the CEOs at the Big Three companies, has further fueled the strike. The union argues that the companies can afford to increase worker wages while maintaining financial viability.

For many families in Detroit and its surrounding areas, the auto industry has been a critical source of livelihood for generations. The striking workers come from these families, with deep connections to the auto industry. The strike is not just about better wages for them; it represents a fight for the future of their communities.

Several workers participating in the strike shared their personal stories and reasons for striking:

1. Robbins, an assembly line worker, highlighted the need to provide for her family and expressed disappointment with her inability to afford a car from the company she works for.

2. Ewald, with almost 30 years of experience, expressed concern for the new generation of autoworkers employed under the tiered payment system. He stressed the bone-breaking nature of the work and the unfairness of low wages.

3. Jomaa, a relatively new employee, revealed that she works two jobs to make ends meet while questioning Ford’s lack of support for its employees to sustain their families.

4. Williams emphasized the urgency of wage increases to counter the impact of inflation, urging the company to prioritize the financial well-being of its employees.

5. Thompson, a worker with four months of experience, admitted that while she is primarily motivated by monetary concerns, she is also excited to fight for cost-of-living wage increases as the costs of bills and food rise.

6. Kanowski, a long-time Ford employee since 1974, highlighted the disparity between workers’ benefits then and now, stating that newer colleagues deserve the same opportunities he had.

7. Davis, a classified inspector, expressed her loyalty to the company after 12 years of service, and stressed the importance of fair compensation for the work carried out.

These stories represent the diverse range of employees affected by the strike. They reveal a shared desire to improve living conditions and secure a better future for themselves and their families.

The current strike is emblematic of the larger struggles faced by workers across industries. It highlights the need for companies to prioritize fair compensation and job security. As negotiations continue, the UAW and the Big Three automakers must find common ground to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for both the workers and the industry.

As the strike progresses, the eyes of the nation are trained on the Big Three automakers, awaiting a resolution that meets the workers’ demands for fair compensation and better working conditions. The outcome will not only impact the lives of thousands of workers but will also influence the trajectory of the auto industry as a whole.

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