UAW members approve potential walkouts at GM, Ford and Stellantis

August 28, 2023: United Auto Workers members overwhelmingly authorized union leaders to reach strikes during ongoing contract negotiations with General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis, if warranted.

On Friday, the union stated that an standard of 97% of combined members at the automakers kept the action. Nevertheless, final votes are still being tallied. That aligns with help during negotiations four years ago, when 96% of employees who voted supported authorization for a strike.

The “strike authorization vote” is a way of the union’s constitution and is viewed as a procedural step in the negotiations. The voting results are historically high in support of the authorization. The vote does not mean there will.

“Our goal is not to strike. I want to make that very clear. Our goal is to bargain good agreements for our members,” UAW President Shawn Fain said Friday during a Facebook Live. “But all we’ve tried to do with this is prepare everybody if we have to bring action to get a fair and just contract.”

However, Fain has been far more vocal than past union leaders about its ability to use striking as a weapon against the companies during the negotiations.

“The Big Three is our strike target. And whether or not there’s a strike — it’s up to Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis because they know our priorities. We’ve been clear,” Fain has said.

Those priorities are far more prosperous than during prior contract negotiations between the two sides. The union’s demands include a 46% wage increase, restoration of traditional pensions, cost-of-living increases, reducing the workweek to 32 hours from 40, and increasing retiree benefits.

The UAW said 98% of hourly employees and 99% of salaried workers at Ford voted favor of the strike authorization. GM passed by 96%, while the action was approved at Stellantis by 95%. Voter turnout and how many votes still needed to be counted took time to be available.

Strikes could take various forms, including a national strike, where all workers under the contract cease working, or targeted work stoppages at certain plants over local contract issues. As Fain has alluded to, a strike against all three automakers would be the most impactful but also the riskiest and most costly for the union.

The UAW has more than $825 million in its strike fund, which it uses to pay eligible members on strike. The strike pay is $500 per week for each member, up from $275 per week last year.

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