Bronwyn McAlindon National

UAW negotiations begin




The United Autoworkers (UAW) have been leading a six-weeklong labor strike against the primary automakers in Detroit such as GM, Ford and Stellantis. After a month and a half of negotiations, deals are being struck and UAW members are being rewarded.  There are new benefits emerging for nearly 150,000 workers across the three largest automotive companies in Detroit.  

“While full details of the finalized deals are still emerging, they set 25% compounded raises over the 4½-year agreements, including an 11% increase upon ratification; reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments; increased 401(k) company contributions; and enhanced profit-sharing bonuses,” said Mike Wayland, in an article for CNBC.

These are just a couple of the things that have been negotiated, and many more negotiations are arising from the successful campaign.  These are some record-high pay increases for workers. This comes after workers have been having to deal with continuous bites from the 2008 financial crisis.

“We wholeheartedly believe our strike squeezed every last dime out of General Motors,” UAW President Shawn Fain in a video from the picket lines in Detroit posted to Twitter.

Union members have been in action since Sept. 15 with nearly 50,000 workers walking out of the workforce. Union members have spent the last six weeks out of work on the picket line fighting for an increase in wages and for the placement of preventative measures against the hiring of temporary workers. 

“If you look at modern opinion polling, labor is a little bit down from their position last year, but we basically live in a golden age for people’s opinions about labor unions and that’s bipartisan. [What a] majority [of] Democrats [and a] good chunk of Republicans agreed on was the desirability of Labor unions. I think that’s often missed,” said, Benjamin Peterson, History Professor.

President Joe Biden and politicians have also put their support in the UAW.  President Biden became the first president to walk a picket line when he walked in a picket line in Detroit.  No president has ever been seen walking the picket line with strikers while in office.

“It’s one of those statistics that also reveals something else. I think…  what hasn’t happened is any meaningful reform of Labor law rights, but that’s not going to get through Congress anytime soon… Biden is almost kind of limited to sort of working behind the scenes and… doing sort of symbolic things,” said Peterson.

While at the picket line, Biden was also able to share words of encouragement to boost the morale of those who have been striking.  

“Folks, stick with it because you deserve the significant raise you need and other benefits. Let’s get back what we lost, okay? We saved them; it’s about time for them to step up for us.,” said President Joe Biden while appearing at the picket lines.

The UAW will now have the leaders of the labor unions meet to accept or decline the current negotiated deals that have been made with GM, Stellantis and Ford.  After acceptance, the labor union members will be able to vote on whether they are willing to accept the deal.  This deal will allow for improved living wages for many automotive employees.

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