The United Auto Workers, one of the largest and most influential labor groups in the United States, recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing strikes at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.
In a statement released by the union, UAW President Rory Gamble said that around 93 percent of GM workers and 97 percent of Ford and Stellantis workers voted in favor of a strike authorization. The vote follows several months of contentious negotiations between the union and the companies as they attempt to reach agreement on a new labor contract.
The strike authorization gives the UAW Local leadership the ability to call its members out on the picket line if the companies do not agree to a new deal. Such a strike has the potential to significantly disrupt production at the companies’ US plants, as many of their parts are sourced domestically.
While the strike vote was an overwhelming show of support from UAW members, the union and the companies are still negotiating in good faith and it is unlikely the companies will face a strike in the near future. UAW Vice President Terry Dittes, who oversees the collective bargaining process, cautioned that a strike would be “the last resort” and that the union is “working around the clock to get an agreement that meets the needs of our members.”
The current labor contract between the companies and the union is set to expire on the 15th of September, 2021. Many of the key issues in the negotiations are related to wages, working conditions, and job security. It remains to be seen whether or not the parties can reach a satisfactory agreement before the deadline.
Time will tell, however, if the UAW’s show of strength against the corporate giants is enough to secure a fair and equitable deal for its members. In the meantime, the union has made it clear that its members are ready to fight for their rights if necessary.