United Auto Workers Union President Shawn Fain posted a video on the union’s social media sites Monday evening to announce that more of its members will go on strike this Friday at noon if “substantial progress” is not made towards an agreement in the contract negotiations with General Motors, Stellantis and Ford.
“Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the Big Three. We're not waiting around, and we're not messing around,” Fain said. “So, noon on Friday, Sept. 22 is a new deadline.”
The UAW has been on strike since Sept. 14, when its contracts with the Big Three expired. However, rather than a full member walkout, the union is calling on its members to “stand up and strike” at targeted locations for the first time in its history.
“This strategy will keep the companies guessing. It will give our national negotiators maximum leverage and flexibility in bargaining,” Fain said last week ahead of the stand-up strike that began last Friday.
The current UAW strike involves around 12,700 UAW workers across three facilities — GM’s Wentzville Assembly Plant in Missouri, which builds the Chevrolet Canyon and GMC Canyon pickup trucks; the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex, which makes the Jeep Wrangler; and Ford’s Michigan facility where the Ford Bronco SUV and Ranger pickup are assembled.
The UAW is demanding significant pay raises for its members, as well as an end to tiered wages and benefits, the ability to strike against plant closures, retiree benefit improvements, more paid time off, cost-of-living adjustments and the return of defined benefit pensions and retiree healthcare.
Fain said it took the Big Three over a month to respond to its demands and accused the three automakers of failing to put fair contract offers on the table before its labor contracts expired Sept. 14.
The UAW is fighting for its “fair share” of the profits automakers’ made over the past decade. The union is seeking wage increases for its members of 36% over the next four years, although that’s down from its original demand of 46%.
In the video posted Monday, Fain said the Big Three have made over $250 billion in North America over the last 10 years and $21 billion in profits in the first half of this year. Fain also said that CEO salaries at the Big Three have increased by an average of 40% over the last four years, while the automakers have poured billions into stock buybacks and special dividends to enrich Wall Street.
“In the past four years, the average price of a new car is up 30%,” Fain said. “You think UAW wages are driving that increase? Think again. Our pay has risen a mere 6% over the last four years due to inflation.”
Fain also said the Big Three “are fleecing consumers right now” and that the union is “taking a stand against corporate greed.”
“Either the Big Three get down to business and work with us to make progress in negotiations, or more locals will be called on to stand up and go out on strike,” Fain said.
In the meantime, Fain said that UAW members will keep organizing actions this week, and the members currently on strike at the three plants will remain off the job.