A shutdown of the the “Big Three” automakers in Detroit could happen soon. A strike authorization vote by 150,000 members of the United Auto Workers has passed overwhelmingly, the UAW announced Friday, with 97 percent in favor.
A strike can still be averted, but the UAW now has the right to call one against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. That could occur as soon as Sept. 15 following the expiration of the current four-year contract.
“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 UAW President Shawn Fain. “The Big Three have been breaking the bank while we have been breaking our backs.”
The UAW seeks the elimination of tiered wages, wage and d benefit increases to offset inflation and “match the generous salary increases of company executives over the last four years,” according to a press release.
The union also wants “the re-establishment of cost-of-living allowances and defined benefit pensions and retiree healthcare, the right to strike over plant closures, significant increases to current retiree benefits, and more paid time off to be with family.”
“Our members’ expectations are high because Big Three profits are so high. The Big Three made a combined $21 billion in profits in just the first six months of this year. That’s on top of the quarter-trillion dollars in North American profits they made over the last decade,” said Fain.
“While Big Three executives and shareholders got rich, UAW members got left behind. Our message to the Big Three is simple: record profits mean record contracts.”
Meanwhile, in Korea, some 44,000 union members who work for Hyunadai Motors have also approved a strike action against the company after two months of talks over wage increases and an extension of the retirement age, Reuters reports.