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UAW votes to authorize a strike against major automakers

Nearly 150,000 autoworkers could walk off the job in a matter of weeks if the top three U.S. automakers can't reach a deal with the union.
UAW votes to authorize a strike against major automakers
Posted at 12:11 PM, Aug 25, 2023

United Auto Workers said on Friday its members overwhelmingly authorized a strike against America's "Big Three" automakers, which could cause assembly lines to shut down next month. 

UAW President Shawn Fain said autoworkers are set to strike as soon as Sept. 14. 

"Let’s show them that we are united and ready to back up those words with collective action," he wrote on Friday. 

UAW's list of demands includes more paid time off, a 32-hour workweek, a double-digit pay increase, and an end to wage tiers. Fain said if those needs aren't met by Sept. 14, then "we gotta do what we gotta do."

"I'm tired. I'm tired after 29 years as a member of this union, and I know you're tired of watching things go backwards," Fain said. "And we're here today to stop that. We're here to turn that around."

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General Motors, Stellantis and Ford said prior to Friday's announcement in their own separate statements that they're working with UAW members on solutions and are aware of the economic impact of the jobs in question. 

According to a recent analysis by Anderson Economic Group, a potential UAW strike could cost the "Big Three" more than $5 billion in just 10 days. 

Still, UAW says it's ready for the picket lines. The union reportedly has $825 million in its strike fund and has raised strike pay to $500 per week.

UAW has 150,000 workers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. The union said the strike authorization poll passed with 97% of the vote.

“Our union’s membership is clearly fed up with living paycheck-to-paycheck while the corporate elite and billionaire class continue to make out like bandits,” said Fain. “The Big Three have been breaking the bank while we have been breaking our backs.”

President Joe Biden was asked about the negotiations on Friday and said, "I’m talking with the UAW. Obviously, I'm concerned. I think that there should be a circumstance where jobs that are being displaced are replaced with new jobs." 

Biden said those jobs should "go to members" of the union, and he said "the salary should be commensurate."

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