🇺🇸 UAW Strike

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The Flag

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BUSINESS

UAW Strike

On Friday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) went on strike at plants owned by Ford, Stellantis NV, and General Motor Company (GM). The workers are striking at a GM plant in Missouri, a Stellantis plant in Ohio, and a Ford plant in Michigan. Workers at plants that weren't directed to strike will work without a contract. It's the first time in the union's 80-year history that it has struck the "Big Three" Detroit automakers:

Reporting from the Right: UAW strike could slam the US economy (FOX Business)

Reporting from the Left: UAW strike Day 4: GM threatens to send 2,000 workers home, Ford cuts 600 jobs (NPR)

From The Flag: Roughly 12,900 workers are striking, accounting for 9% of UAW's members at the three companies simultaneously. The union is seeking a 40% general pay raise for its members over a four-year period. Full-time plant workers at Ford and GM earn $32.32 an hour; part-timers make roughly $17 an hour. Full-time employees at Stellantis earn $31.77 an hour, and part-time workers make roughly $16 an hour. Here’s what both sides are saying.

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Democrat’s Climate Push Clashing With UAW

  • It’s ironic the UAW has overwhelmingly supported Democrats who are responsible for the strong push of transitioning toward EVs.

  • President Joe Biden’s climate change agenda and efforts to support the middle class by supporting unions are at odds with one another.

  • “Electrification of vehicles is leading not only to shrinking worker incomes but to a fundamental fracturing of the Democratic Party coalition.”

The UAW Labor-Strike Debacle The Editors, National Review: “The UAW remains an opponent of conservative causes to this day. In each and every election cycle from 1990 through 2022, more than 98 percent of its campaign contributions have gone to Democrats. Over a quarter of the union’s membership is now composed of hyper-progressive higher-education workers, and it has been far more successful convincing graduate students to unionize than it has been convincing nonunion autoworkers to join. … This corrupt, left-wing organization is willing to inflict significant economic damage on the rest of the country if its members don’t get 40 hours of pay for 32 hours of work, a 46 percent pay raise, and defined-benefit pensions. On top of those demands, the UAW is also at an impasse with automakers because of the federal government’s centrally planned ‘transition’ to electric vehicles. … As Democrats have used legislation and the administrative state to push electric vehicles far faster than the technology permits, the UAW has kept the donations flowing, and progressives have cheered.”

Biden's Climate Change, Union Goals Clash Apparent in UAW Strike, Newsman: “Two of President Joe Biden's top goals — fighting climate change and expanding the middle class by supporting unions — are colliding in the key battleground state of Michigan as the United Auto Workers go on strike against the country's biggest car companies. The strike involves 13,000 workers so far, less than one-tenth of the union's total membership, but it's a sharp test of Biden's ability to hold together an expansive and discordant political coalition while running for reelection. Biden is trying to turbocharge the market for electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent China from solidifying its grip on a growing industry. … Some in the UAW fear the transition will cost jobs because electric vehicles require fewer people to assemble. Although there will be new opportunities in the production of high-capacity batteries, there's no guarantee that those factories will be unionized and they're often being planned in states more hostile to organized labor.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: UAW Is Singing the Blues Because of the Greens Diana Furchtogott-Roth, National Review

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Workers’ Rights and Political Consequences in Focus

  • The consequences of this strike are likely to have a broader impact outside of the automobile industry and for workers’ rights in general.

  • Under Donald Trump the GOP has made modest gains among blue collar workers, and the strike represents an opportunity for them.

  • By thinking big, UAW President Shawn Fain is summoning memories of Walter Reuther and the autoworkers’ union’s finest hour.

Why the UAW strike is bigger than the auto industry Hamilton Nolan, MSNBC: “This is set against a longer-term backdrop of rising economic inequality. Generations of workers are rightly furious that their pay has remained stagnant for decades as executives and investors reaped the gains of their increasing productivity. Autoworkers have been exposed to the full force of these trends. They and their unions made grand concessions after the 2008 financial crisis to save their industry. When the companies’ fortunes improved, they forgot the workers’ sacrifice. An Economic Policy Institute analysis found that in the past decade, the Big Three have made $250 billion in profits, sent $66 billion of that to investors and raised CEO pay by 40%. Meanwhile, the average auto manufacturing worker is earning almost 20% less today than they did in 2008. In this, the auto industry is a perfect microcosm of the American economy writ large.”

Republicans squeeze Democrats on labor as UAW strike explodes in Michigan Myah War and Ally Mutnick, POLITICO: Republicans are testing whether they can widen the Democratic Party rift exposed by the United Auto Workers strike as they try to reclaim the Senate and the White House. The GOP sees the UAW walkout as a potential lifeline in Michigan, where politically weakened Republicans are now plotting how best to seize on a tension point between Democrats’ clean-energy agenda and their pro-labor roots. President Joe Biden is pressing for more electric vehicles to achieve his climate goals, but workers who produce parts like batteries for those cars are often non-union and make less money. … In the coming days and weeks, Republican campaigns and national party leaders will be monitoring the state-of-play and polling as they determine just how much to lean into attacks on Democrats’ clean energy agenda, but also against the president, who is being accused of not having done enough to avoid the standoff.

One more opinion piece from the Left: Can the UAW Transform America Again? Timothy Noah, The New Republic

FLAG THIS

Public Opinion Looks To Be on Strikers’ Side

In a Morning Consult survey conducted before the strike officially began, US adults surveyed said they would support a the UAW if they are unable to reach an agreement with the Big Three by a 2-to-1 margin. Specifically, 51% of respondents indicated they would strongly or somewhat support a strike, whereas 23% were somewhat or strongly opposed.

Of the demands that the UAW is making, an increase in retirement benefits had the greatest support with 70% strongly or somewhat in support, and an immediate 10% pay increase closely followed with 68% strongly or somewhat in support. At the bottom, a shortened work week was least supported with only 45% of respondents strongly or somewhat supporting the demand (Morning Consult).

Generally speaking, do you support the workers in the UAW strike?

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