On September 15th, last month, workers from three major automotive companies – Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Chrysler brands) organized a strike. The United Auto Workers (UAW) union initially focused on Midwest plants before expanding to other locations across the country. Recently, even a Ford plant in Kentucky, which is their most profitable one, was shut down due to the strike.
The strike has resulted in a loss of more than seven billion dollars for the companies, with Michigan being the most affected. The impact of this strike is not limited to the companies alone; it has resulted in a significant number of layoffs and plant closures, leaving many workers without a job and a source of income.
The issue at hand is reminiscent of the recently ended Writer’s Guild of America strike, where wages were consistently declining. Instead of hiring full-time employees, both the Hollywood and automotive industries are employing part-time workers who they can pay less, thereby increasing the companies’ profits.
The UAW is working to eliminate certain practices in the industry, one of which was the one just highlighted. The second issue is the decrease in wages. The union has requested an immediate raise of 20% and an additional 5% increment each year for the next four years. The workers are unhappy with the constant growth in the salaries of the CEOs, which exceed 20 million dollars, while their wages continue to shrink.
The companies reacted in a variety of ways. General Motors made a counteroffer of a 20% overall increased wage (10% immediate hike), Ford also proposed a 20% total increase, while Stellantis offered only a 14.5% increase and ensured inflation-proof wages, despite the most controversies surrounding their company (they use part-time workers the most of the three companies) and their position as the wealthiest of the big three automotive companies.
This strike seems to be in full swing now, with both sides of the strike showing their dedication to their arguments and offers, and while it seems good that the workers are steadfast in fighting for increased pay, it means thousands are out of jobs and more fear layoffs. This situation does nothing but harm to both sides of the strike as we see the union and companies in a sort of stalemate that we hope will be swiftly resolved, both for the wellness of the workers and the industry as a whole. Cars are an essential part of our lives, and the longer the strike lasts, the more dangers and issues the automotive industry will face.
Hello, my name is Luke Fann. I love to read and write myself into a fantastical realm, but I love all genres. Of course, such a task requires assistance from my parents and older brother. I've feasted on alligators and tamed beasts like alpacas (my favorite animal), but none of that compares to my greatest weapon: a pencil. I am an editor here for the City Voice, and this is my second year writing for it.