The UAW strike is about to grow; according to a recent update on X, the contract of 3,500 UAW members at Mack in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida expires on October 1. Members there voted 98% in favor of a strike, stating that it was time for a fair contract at Mack.
United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain is poised to declare extended strikes on Friday morning should the ongoing negotiations with Detroit’s traditional automakers not yield substantial headway towards a new four-year labor agreement, as per a source familiar with the situation reported by Reuters. The expiring contract for Mack workers will make the strike grow. The latest development comes a week after the union’s announcement on September 15 of widening its initial strikes at General Motors Co., Stellantis NV, and Ford Motor Co. assembly facilities to encompass 38 additional parts and distribution centers for GM and Stellantis. However, due to positive discussions, Ford has been exempted from the expanded strikes.
Meanwhile, the UAW has set a new deadline, with a Facebook Live event scheduled for Friday at 10:00 AM ET, termed as a “stand-up announcement.” If Fain initiates further walkouts at more plants starting from noon (4:00 PM GMT) on Friday, the ongoing work stoppages will persist until a new contract is reached.
The union’s demand for a 40% pay increase over the new contract period has been a sticking point, with the automakers proposing around a 20% hike. The gap remains significant even after a reported reduction to a 30% demand by the UAW, as reported by Bloomberg. The negotiations also encompass cost-of-living allowances and general wage increments aimed at attracting non-unionized auto workers and expanding the union’s membership base.
During his visit to the picket lines in Michigan, President Biden expressed his support for the 40% pay increase, breaking with historical presidential stances that usually steer clear of strikes, favoring mediation.
The ongoing strike, involving approximately 18,300 workers or about 12% of UAW’s 146,000 members, comes at a critical juncture as the Biden administration’s push towards electric vehicles (EVs) threatens to disrupt the traditional auto sector in Michigan. The transition to EVs, necessitating about 30% less labor, could potentially lead to a significant reduction in manufacturing jobs within the state, impacting over 175,000 individuals employed by auto companies or parts suppliers.
The forthcoming round of strikes, if executed, could adversely affect the production of large trucks and SUVs, with estimation by Morgan Stanley’s auto strategist, Adam Jonas, indicating a potential loss of around $250 million in profits per day for the automakers.
The unfolding scenario underscores the delicate balance between labor demands, corporate profitability, and broader policy shifts towards greener technologies, with substantial implications for the automotive industry’s future in Michigan and beyond.