Monday, September 4, 2023

The state of UAW negotiations for Labor Day 2023

Happy Labor Day! Today's big labor news isn't about either the SAG-AFTRA or WGA strikes. Instead, it's about the possibility of a UAW strike. This is a blog based in metro Detroit, the Motor City, and the threat of an auto workers strike is a local story with national implications.

I begin with Fox 2 Detroit reporting UAW rejects offer by Ford, files unfair labor charges against GM, Stellantis on Friday.

The United Auto Workers are holding firm with existing Big 3 deals set to expire in two weeks. The UAW also filed unfair labor practice charges against General Motors and Stellantis.
Five billion in losses from a ten-day strike? Yikes! That rivals what the actors and writers striking most of the summer did to the southern California economy.

Fox 2 Detroit did a good job of presenting the union viewpoint with some balance from management. The next day, WTOL 11 uploaded The clock is ticking for UAW negotiations with Big Three, which offered different labor perspectives and added more from management.

The United Auto Workers' contract with the Big Three is set to expire Sept. 14.
I shouldn't be surprised that these negotiations are a reaction to the concessions made during GM's bankruptcy, which also affected Chrysler, now Stellantis. All those profits since then have made the UAW want to take those concessions back.

Both Fox 2 and WTOL 11 brought up the transition to electric vehicles as an issue in the contract talks. Yahoo Finance explored that in United Auto Workers negotiations: Why the shift to EVs is such a big deal to workers.

United Auto Workers' members have authorized a strike in case negotiations with the Big Three U.S. automakers (GM, F, STLA) fail. Autolist Editor-in-Chief David Undercoffler spoke with Yahoo Finance Live anchor Akiko Fujita about the significant pay differences between a union and non-union job in a comparable role. "EVs are much simpler to manufacture by several orders of magnitude," Undercoffler says, adding that the UAW is likely looking to the future in a bid to help protect their members' jobs. Also, Burnes Center for Social Change Senior Fellow Seth Harris joined the conversation saying the "critical issue" in the transition to EV manufacturing will be wages, with workers wanting to ensure they will still get the "same, quality wages in an electric vehicle battery plant that they were earning when they were helping to build internal combustion engine vehicles."
Anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time knows I'm in favor of electric vehicles. I drive a Prius, for starters. While I enjoyed hearing that assembling electric vehicles is simpler than putting together internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles — there are fewer moving parts in electric power plants and transmissions — I hadn't considered that would mean less labor in building cars and light trucks. On the one hand, it's always a good day when I learn something new, especially a point in favor of something I support already. On the other, it serves as an example of two of Commoner's Laws, everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch. May people not suffer so that the planet and profit thrive.

I plan on updating the strikes in Hollywood tomorrow, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday while remembering the reason it exists.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to driftglass for linking to this post in Mike’s Blog Round-Up at Crooks and Liars and welcome to all of you who came here from that link! You might appreciate my follow-up, Examinations of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes leading into the Labor Day weekend. Also, welcome to all my Singaporean, Canadian, Dutch, Ukrainian, and other international readers. I appreciate all of you, especially my Singaporean readers, who have contributed about 11,300 page views this week, about five times as many as my American readers! Keep it up!