Dan DiMaggio

A previous version of this article was published on October 31.

After a six-week escalating strike, the Auto Workers (UAW) ratified agreements with each of the Big 3 automakers. The deals are a sharp about-face from decades of concessions.

All three dominoes fell in a few days.

The Auto Workers (UAW) now have agreements with each of the Big 3 automakers. The new contracts are a sharp about-face from decades of concessions.

The tentative agreements go further than many thought possible on issues that the companies insisted were off the table. Stellantis agreed to reopen its idled Belvidere assembly plant. GM and Stellantis will include new battery plant workers in their master agreements.

The clock is ticking toward September 14 at midnight, when the Auto Workers’ contracts with the Big 3 automakers expire. The new leaders of the UAW have come out swinging, and in quickly growing numbers, members are stepping up to prepare for a strike.

The agreements cover close to 150,000 workers at Ford, General Motors (GM), and Stellantis.

Bargaining between the United Auto Workers and Big 3 automakers is looking very different this year.

New UAW leaders ditched the public handshake ceremony with company executives that has traditionally kicked off bargaining. “I’m not shaking hands with any CEOs until they do right by our members,” said President Shawn Fain in a Facebook live talk July 11.

Contracts covering 150,000 auto workers at the Big 3 will expire on September 14, and the new leadership of the United Auto Workers is taking a more aggressive stance than in years past.

“We’re going to launch our biggest contract campaign ever in our history,” UAW President Shawn Fain told members in a Facebook live video.

Ballots Out in UAW Presidential Run-Off

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The run-off election for president of the United Auto Workers is underway. Ballots hit the mail January 12 and counting will start March 1.

The election pits challenger Shawn Fain, an electrician from Kokomo, Indiana, and an international rep, against incumbent president Ray Curry. The 400,000-member union represents workers at the Big Three auto plants, auto parts factories, and other sectors including heavy equipment manufacturing and higher education.

Negotiations will take place in 2023 for some of the biggest contracts in the labor movement, including at UPS and the Big Three automakers.

Workers are hoping to take advantage of a tight labor market to reverse years of concessions and win big raises to help cope with inflation. New leaders in the Teamsters, and potentially the Auto Workers (UAW), have promised to put up a more aggressive fight.

Three miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, auto parts workers in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, voted yesterday to join an independent union, defeating company attempts to usher in an employer-friendly, politically connected union.

The independent Mexican Workers’ League (la Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana) won 186 votes, while a union with ties to the powerful Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) received 101.

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