Today workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant announced their third bid to unionize plant-wide with the Auto Workers (UAW). Riding the momentum of its strike of the Big 3 automakers, the UAW now wants to double its numbers in the auto industry by adding 150,000 workers at companies that have long avoided unionization. Thirteen non-union automakers are on notice: Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Mercedes, Volvo, BMW, Volkswagen, and electric vehicle producers Rivian, Tesla, and Lucid. The union says it has been inundated with calls and online sign-ups by workers at these firms. The Volkswagen drive is the first to go public, after 1,000 workers signed union cards.
Since 1979, union auto workers have endured round after round of concessions. That era is over. On Wednesday, the 41st day of the union’s Stand Up Strike against the Big 3, Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain announced a deal with Ford. The contract gains are substantial. The union added the straw that broke the camel’s back this week when it hit General Motors’s and Stellantis’s two biggest moneymakers, SUV and truck assembly plants in Texas and Michigan, on Monday and Tuesday. Workers at Ford’s top cash cow, Kentucky Truck, had gone out October 11.
On Tuesday, Sept. 26, protesters affiliated with the United Auto Workers (UAW), Labor Notes, Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD, the rank-and-file reform caucus within the UAW), the Democratic Socialists of America, Latino/a Workers’ Leadership Conference, and Casa Obrera del Bajío gathered outside of VU Manufacturing’s headquarters in Troy, Michigan, to deliver a list of demands in support of 400 Mexican workers in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, who were recently laid off by the company. VU Manufacturing shut down the newly unionized facility along the Mexico-US border in August, while 71 workers were still in their employ.
The United Auto Workers have secured a tentative deal with Ford that would end the strike against one of the mammoth automakers making up The Big Three, the union announced Wednesday night. Earlier in the evening, numerous journalists and publications noted that the tentative deal was likely, and publications like Bloomberg reported early Wednesday evening that the deal had already been made. “We announce a major victory in the Stand-Up Strike. Today, we reached a tentative agreement with Ford. For months we said that record profits mean record contracts, and UAW family, our Stand-Up strike has delivered,” UAW President Shawn Fain said,
After voting by 73% to reject a tentative agreement, nearly 4,000 UAW members at Mack Trucks in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida walked out on strike at 7 a.m. on Monday, October 9. “I’m inspired to see UAW members at Mack Trucks holding out for a better deal, and ready to stand up and walk off the job to win it,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “The members have the final say, and it’s their solidarity and organization that will win a fair contract at Mack.” After weeks of failing to address core economic issues, the company reached a tentative agreement with just minutes to spare before the initial deadline on October 1.
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.
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.
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.
The strike is on. Last night the Auto Workers (UAW) shut down three major assembly plants at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler). It’s the first time in history the union has struck all three companies at once. New UAW leaders kept a tight lid on plans for which plants to strike, counting on members to be more prepared to quickly swing into action than management. The strategy, so far, seems like a success, with widespread reports of managers caught by surprise, after making costly materials moves for strike prep at the wrong plants. At each striking plant, auto workers have organized strong, jubilant pickets on barely an hour's notice.
Tick, tock. At midnight the clock ran out, and auto workers massed on picket lines. The first-ever simultaneous strike at the Big 3 automakers—General Motors, Ford, Stellantis—started September 15 with 13,000 workers walking out of three assembly plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri. There are 146,000 Auto Workers (UAW) members at the Big 3. The UAW is calling its strategy the “stand-up strike,” a nod to the Flint sit-down strike of 1936-1937 that helped establish the union. The shot across the bow came two hours shy of midnight via a very short Facebook Live video where UAW President Shawn Fain shared the strike targets.
The likely Auto Workers (UAW) strike, which the union is dubbing the "Stand Up Strike," could be a turning point for the U.S. labor movement—and all of us across the movement can lend a hand to help the strikers win. Cross-union solidarity can turn up the heat on the Big 3 to end tiers and make green jobs good jobs. It can also boost strikers’ morale and build connections that endure for years to come. When Frito-Lay workers went on strike two summers ago in Topeka, Kansas, the Bakery Workers were amazed at the support they received, including from UAW members who brought them water and donuts.
The automakers General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis are hurtling towards a showdown with United Auto Workers (UAW) as contract talks approach the September 14 strike deadline. As the Big 3 automakers scramble to make contingency plans, they are shining a spotlight on one specific part of the supply chain: the parts distribution centers that supply after-sales spare parts and accessories to dealerships. In August, reports leaked that Ford was preparing to deploy 1,200 non-union salaried employees to parts distribution centers (PDCs), or as Ford calls them, “high velocity centers.” The plan proved to be controversial. Some salaried employees raised concerns about safety—a non-union employee got into an accident during the 2021 John Deere strike.
After decades of accepting concessions demanded by the Big Three automakers, the United Auto Workers (UAW) is now making bold demands of its own in one of the most spirited contract campaigns in the union’s recent history. With 97% of the 150,000 UAW members at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) voting to authorize a strike, and with the current collective bargaining agreements set to expire Thursday night, a work stoppage at any or all of the auto giants could begin Friday morning unless new four-year contracts are secured. The Big Three have made a combined nearly quarter trillion dollars in profits in North America over the past decade — including $21 billion in the first six months of 2023 alone.
Bargaining between the United Auto Workers and Big 3 automakers is looking very different this year. New UAW leaders ditched the public handshake ceremony with company executives that has traditionally kicked off bargaining. “I’m not shaking hands with any CEOs until they do right by our members,” said President Shawn Fain in a Facebook live talk July 11. Instead, officers—recently elected on promises of greater transparency and militancy, in the union’s first-ever direct election for top posts—established what could become a new tradition: “the Members’ Handshake.” Fain and other executive board members spent July 12 greeting workers at the gates of three Michigan assembly plants.
Reform challenger Shawn Fain appears poised to win the presidency of the United Auto Workers, defeating incumbent Ray Curry for the union’s top leadership spot. With more than 137,000 votes counted, Fain has a lead of 645 votes; the counting of the remaining challenged ballots will resume March 16. If Fain wins, challengers to the ruling caucus will hold not only the presidency but also a majority on the union’s international executive board. UAW Members United ran on a platform of no corruption, no tiers, and no concessions. It’s a watershed after nearly 80 years of the Administration Caucus’s stranglehold on power—defined by corruption scandals, diminished bargaining power, and a multi-tier wage system that wrecked worker solidarity.