The Big Three automakers in Detroit – Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis – have failed to reach a new labor agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) before the expiration of their contract, resulting in one of the largest strikes in the U.S. in years. The UAW President, Shawn Fain, announced in a Facebook Live address that employees at three plants would immediately go on strike: a GM plant in Missouri, a Ford plant in Michigan, and a Stellantis plant in Ohio.
Around 12,700 employees will participate in the strike, with the UAW’s strike fund providing them with about $500 per week. Fain stated that locals not yet called to join the strike will continue working under an expired agreement. While he doesn’t expect negotiations on Friday, there is a possibility of returning to the table on Saturday.
The UAW is demanding a 36% pay increase over a four-year contract, pension benefits for all employees, limitations on the use of temporary workers, more paid time off, including a four-day workweek, and stronger job protections, including the right to strike over plant closings. The automakers claim they have made multiple offers to the UAW but have been unable to fulfill all the demands due to the need to remain competitive with Tesla and foreign car manufacturers, especially in the electric vehicle market.
Following the strike, Stellantis expressed disappointment with the UAW’s refusal to engage in a fair agreement, and GM expressed disappointment despite offering wage increases and manufacturing commitments. The automakers argue that the strike could have detrimental effects on the domestic auto industry, leading to higher car prices and nearly $6 billion in wage and earnings losses while reducing overall U.S. economic growth by up to 0.3%.
As negotiations continue, the strike will likely have significant consequences for both the automakers and the U.S. economy as a whole.