Thousands of United Auto Workers (UAW) members walked off the job at three factories on Sept. 15 amid stalled contract negotiations with Detroit’s Big 3 automakers - General Motors (GM), Ford (F) and Stellantis (STLA).
The union's strike is at present limited to select assembly plants: GM's in Wentzville, Missouri; Ford's in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellantis's in Toledo, Ohio.
However, more union locals may be called on to strike at a later date if no new collective bargaining agreement is in place, under the UAW's so-called "stand up strike" strategy. This approach gives the union "maximum leverage and maximum flexibility in our fight to win a fair contract at each of the Big Three automakers," the UAW says on its website.
In a Sept. 14 statement issued just hours before the four-year collective bargaining contract expired, Ford said it submitted four proposals to the union since Aug. 29 but that UAW's latest counterproposal was little changed from the union's initial demands on Aug. 3.
Ford said it has bargained in good faith in an effort to avoid a strike and that it remains committed to reaching an agreement "that rewards our employees and protects Ford's ability to invest in the future as we move through industry-wide transformation."
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters came out in support of the UAW on Thursday morning and stated it will not cross picket lines, adding pressure to the automakers.
“The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, including our members in the carhaul industry, stand in solidarity with the United Auto Workers to get the best contract possible from America’s biggest automakers,” Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said in a statement. “You can be sure there is no division in America’s labor movement today. And you are urged to remember that Teamsters don’t cross picket lines.”
Details of the UAW’s demands can be found here and include wage increases, defined benefit pensions for all workers, restoring cost of living adjustments, ending the “abuse” of temporary workers, increased retiree pay and more paid time off.
The UAW’s “strike fund” currently sits at more than $825 million, which means it could strike the Big 3 automakers for 12 weeks before exhausting its funds, according to a report by Axios. It estimates that a strike would cost the fund about $100 per workday per affected worker.
Strike assistance pay is available to workers that are active members and in good standing with the union after the eighth day of the strike.
Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.
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