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UAW Chief Says Union Prepared To Strike Against Big Three Automakers

Above Photo: A Electrify America Charging Station for electric vehicles is seen in Skokie, Ill., Jan. 29, 2023. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh.

The head of United Auto Workers (UAW) raised the prospect of strikes ahead of talks with the three biggest automakers in Detroit later this month, as the industry faces major changes amid the shift to electric vehicles.

Shawn Fain, the union’s president, said the auto workers will have a chance to attain larger concessions from the companies — General Motors (GM), Stellantis and Ford — in their new contracts “only if our members get organized and ready to strike.”

The auto union is seeking to secure its members’ place in the emerging electric vehicle (EV) market — specifically joint-venture plants often operated by both the auto manufacturers and companies that make the batteries needed for EVs.

“A new industry is being born,” Fain said in a video message to the union members. “This is our defining moment. Our communities and our country deserve good, safe, living-wage union jobs.”

According to analysts studying the auto industry, EV sales could jump from 7 percent to 40 percent of new vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2040. However, because of the manufacturing ease of EVs, it could take nearly 40 percent fewer workers to produce them.

Negotiations between the UAW and Ford and Stellantis are set to start this week and with GM next week. The four-year contracts between the union and the three auto giants ends Sept. 14.

“Stellantis and the UAW have a long history of working together, and our intent is to continue this partnership,” Jodi Tinson, the senior manager for North America media relations and content at the company, said in a statement.

“Our focus will be on negotiating a contract that will ensure our future competitiveness in today’s rapidly changing global market and preserve good wages and benefits that recognize the contributions of our represented workforce.”

The Hill has reached out to Ford and GM.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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