Seven thousand Auto Workers at two more assembly plants will walk off the job at noon ET today, UAW President Shawn Fain announced in a Facebook Live appearance this morning. Joining the strike are Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant and General Motors’ Lansing Delta Township Assembly in Michigan. Fain announced that Stellantis would be spared this time. The union had been expected to expand the strike today at all three companies, but, said Region 1 Director LaShawn English, three minutes before Fain was scheduled to go on Facebook Live, the UAW received frantic emails from company representatives.
Fed up with the deterioration of public services under the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government, thousands took to the streets to demand fair pay, improved benefits, and better working conditions while unions negotiated new collective agreements with the province. The coalition of unions—including the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), the FTQ, and the Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et services sociaux (APTS)—is known as the “common front,” or front commun, and represents over 420,000 workers in Québec’s public schools, health care and social services sectors.
Yesterday, Joe Biden became the first sitting president to visit a picket line of striking workers. It is historic. A few hours later, Jacobin published an article entitled “The Militancy of the UAW Strike Forced Joe Biden to Take a Side and Walk the Picket Line,” by Nick French. Jacobin is right that Biden’s visit to the picket line results from the UAW strike’s strength. But Jacobin is dead wrong in its assessment that Biden is “on the side of the working class.” Instead, Biden’s visit is a product of the capitalist crisis in which both Trump and Biden are vying for influence over the working class in a tight presidential race.
The Auto Workers announced encouraging progress in their negotiations with Ford and General Motors September 22, including an end to one of the many concessionary tiers in the union’s contract. In 2015 workers at Chrysler (now Stellantis) voted down a tentative agreement 2 to 1 because it continued an onerous two-tier wage system—and even introduced new tiers. UAW President Dennis Williams (later jailed for corruption) was pissed. At a meeting of local officials called to present that deal, Williams spluttered, “Ending two-tier is bullshit.” The UAW still has other tiers to address, but it looks like Williams was wrong. Both Ford and GM have agreed to put workers at certain parts plants back on the same wage scale as assembly plant workers.
As the first-ever simultaneous strike at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis continues, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is being cheered on not only by a majority of Americans, but also by much of the international labor movement. Over the past two weeks, the UAW has received messages of solidarity from worker organizations in multiple countries, including a letter from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and an email from Malaysia’s National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers — both of which represent autoworkers in their respective countries. “The world is watching, and the people are on our side,” UAW President Shawn Fain said last Friday.
The first person quoted in the New York Times’ rundown (9/19/23) on the United Auto Workers strike was a lawyer representing management from Littler Mendelson, the go-to firm for big corporations’ union avoidance. “Right now, unions are cool,” said Michael Lotito of Littler Mendelson. But they “have a risk of not being very cool if you have a five-month strike in LA and an X-month strike in how many other states.” The article, “Strike Is a High-Stakes Gamble for Autoworkers and the Labor Movement” highlights the “real pitfalls” of a so-called prolonged strike against the big three automakers: General Motors, Ford and Stellantis (which absorbed Chrysler).
Auto workers at the Big 3 expanded their strike last Friday to a key vulnerability: parts distribution centers that supply dealerships with everything from water pumps to brake drums and spark plugs to replacement bumpers. On Tuesday morning, General Motors began bringing in temps hired for $14 an hour to attempt to keep some of the parts and accessories flowing. Parts distribution centers ship after-sales spare parts and accessories to car dealerships on a just-in-time basis. “If there is anything that could possibly break down that you need to get replaced, it probably came from a Customer Care and Aftersales (CCA) facility,” said strike captain Devon McKenzie
After nearly five months, striking writers have secured a tentative agreement with Hollywood studio bosses. In a statement released on Sunday, September 24, the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA), which has been organizing the strike, announced that “an agreement in principle on all deal points” have been arrived at by the bargaining team. The deal comes after the latest round of talks between the bargaining team of the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), while writers completed 146 days on strike. As per reports, the latest round of talks reached a major impasse on Saturday, but the AMPTP relented on a mutually agreeable deal on Sunday.
Bargaining with the Detroit 3 auto corporations is happening in Canada and the United States at the same time this year—the first time that bargaining has aligned since the disastrous bankruptcy negotiations and forced concessions of 2009. Unifor just reached a tentative agreement with Ford earlier this week, while the United Auto Workers’ strike against selected Ford, Stellantis and General Motors plants is ongoing. This is indicative of the major differences in the strategies of the two unions. The UAW, under new leadership, is doing things dramatically differently—raising bold demands, mobilizing their membership, and developing innovative strategies and tactics.
The clock has ticked and tocked for two of the Big 3 automakers. At noon 5,000 more members of the Auto Workers (UAW) at 38 parts distribution centers for Stellantis and General Motors walked off the job. The facilities are spread across 20 states. They join 13,000 workers at assembly plants in Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri who have been out for a week—for a total of 18,000 Big 3 auto workers on picket lines nationwide. (See a map of all struck facilities here.) The escalation adds a new type of facility to the mix. Parts distribution centers (PDCs) supply after-sales spare parts and accessories to dealerships, a very profitable part of the companies’ business.
Entering the fifth day of the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike, 13,000 out of 146,000 UAW workers continue to walk the picket lines in front of three auto plants in Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio, belonging to each of the three largest automakers in the country, GM, Stellantis, and Ford. This partial strike has the potential to build up to a strike of all 146,000 members depending on how the auto companies respond to contract negotiations. The UAW has dubbed this strategy, which keeps the union a step ahead of the automakers at all times, the “Stand Up Strike”. UAW President Shawn Fain appeared on MSNBC Sunday to talk about updates in negotiations.
Hey UAW family. Last week, we announced the launch of the Stand-Up Strike. I want to give a major shout out to the thousands of members who are on the picket line right now, fighting for all of us. For the first time in our union’s history, we’re on strike at all three of the Big Three. The stand up strike is a new approach to striking. Instead of striking all plants all at once, select locals will be called on to stand up and walk out on strike. This is our generation’s answer to the movement that built our union: the sit-down strikes of 1937. Then, as now, we faced massive inequality across our society. Then, as now, our industry is rapidly changing, and workers are being left behind.
Management everywhere relies on workers “going the extra mile.” We cut corners, we skip breaks, and we look the other way on common violations of the contract, work rules, or even safety. But it’s also possible, when the time is right, to just stop doing the boss these favors. After all, how often does management do workers a favor? As they build momentum for a possible strike, General Motors worker Nick Livick in Kansas City reports that his co-workers are refusing to help management as they normally would. Instead they are waiting for direct orders, and stopping the line when management starts it up early after a break.
Wayne, MI – Since 12 a.m. September 15, over 4000 UAW Local 900 auto workers have been on strike at the Ford Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, which is located just outside of Detroit. Since the strike was announced, the UAW workers have received much media attention nation-wide, and many Detroit residents are excited about the kind of fight the UAW are leading and the implications a win could have for them. UAW local 900 workers and their supporters were in high spirits and the atmosphere on the ground is electric. There is a 24/7 picket running along a mile stretch in front of the massive assembly plant, with hundreds of picketers spread across several entry gates at any given time.
Some 3,800 union healthcare workers in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., are threatening to go on strike at the end of this month if the leadership at Kaiser Permanente and the union cannot agree to a new contract addressing staffing shortages and low pay for workers. According to a Monday statement from OPEIU Local 2, which represents 8,000 workers in the region, about 98% of health care workers from the union voted to authorize a strike to protest “unfair labor practices” if no agreement is reached by Sept. 30. The health care workers represented by OPEIU Local 2 union include optometrists, pharmacists, nurses and certified nursing assistants.