Luis Feliz Leon

It’s Working: Auto Workers’ Strike Strategy Is Forcing the Big 3 to Pony Up

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The Auto Workers (UAW) have thrown the Big 3 on the back foot.

For the first time in recent history, the union is playing the automakers against each other—departing from its tradition of choosing one target company and patterning an agreement at the other two.

And its gradually escalating Stand-Up Strike strategy has multiplied the pressure that can move the companies off the dime.

Every Friday for four weeks, the CEOs waited with bated breath for UAW President Shawn Fain to announce strike targets.

On Facebook Live Friday afternoon, Auto Workers President Shawn Fain symbolically awarded roses to automakers General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford based on progress at the negotiating table, a reference to the reality show “The Bachelor.” The only thing missing was teary-eyed CEOs breathing a sigh of relief as the UAW agreed not to widen its strike to more factories for now.

Seven thousand Auto Workers at two more assembly plants will walk off the job at noon ET today, UAW President Shawn Fain announced in a Facebook Live appearance this morning. Joining the strike are Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant and General Motors’ Lansing Delta Township Assembly in Michigan.

Auto workers at the Big 3 expanded their strike last Friday to a key vulnerability: parts distribution centers that supply dealerships with everything from water pumps to brake drums and spark plugs to replacement bumpers.

On Tuesday morning, General Motors began bringing in temps hired for $14 an hour to attempt to keep some of the parts and accessories flowing.

The clock has ticked and tocked for two of the Big 3 automakers. At noon 5,000 more members of the Auto Workers (UAW) at 38 parts distribution centers for Stellantis and General Motors walked off the job. The facilities are spread across 20 states.

The strike is on. Last night the Auto Workers (UAW) shut down three major assembly plants at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler). It’s the first time in history the union has struck all three companies at once.

Tick, tock. At midnight the clock ran out, and auto workers massed on picket lines.

The first-ever simultaneous strike at the Big 3 automakers—General Motors, Ford, Stellantis—started September 15 with 13,000 workers walking out of three assembly plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri. There are 146,000 Auto Workers (UAW) members at the Big 3.

The UAW is calling its strategy the “stand-up strike,” a nod to the Flint sit-down strike of 1936-1937 that helped establish the union.

Two days before their contract expires at midnight Thursday, the Auto Workers (UAW) are poised to strike the Big 3 automakers—General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis—to recoup concessions made over the past two decades, end tiers, boost wages, and fight for a shorter workweek and other quality-of-life demands.

Lessons from Lively Picket Lines

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The heat was scorching in Louisville, Kentucky, last Thursday. But what the windless day lacked in gusts, it made up in guts.

The union-made placards read: “United for a Strong Contract.” That resonated with auto workers at Ford who hadn’t been part of a contract rally for as long as anyone can remember.

And the picket line came alive when they broke away from the tedious repetition of “Who’s got the power? We’ve got the power!” and used their own chants.

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