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.
David Sandoval remembers when he and his co-workers had a whole 72 seconds to assemble their sections of each seat for the Ford F-150, back when he started at a Michigan parts plant in 2004.
Today, 60 seconds is the deadline managers give each team racing at a dozen stations: to bolt the frame together, lay electronics, add heating and cooling gear, set cushions, and attach trim. Robotic lifting arms help on only one or two steps; handheld tools and elbow grease must do the rest. Each crew is told to clear 680 seats in a 10-hour shift.