Friday, September 29, 2023

An automobile strike begins in the USA

Autoworkers in the United States began a major strike this Friday the 15th, demanding a wage increase, a reduction in working hours, improvements in pensions and an end to the two-tier wage system that, despite all efforts, gives new workers less income same task. The decision to take this violent measure was approved at the end of August by 97% of workers who took part in the consultation launched by the industry union UAW (United Auto Workers).

The modality of the strike changes. It started in three plants, one for each of the three major automobile companies (Ford of Wayne, Michigan; General Motors of Wentzville, Missouri; and Stellantis – a merger of Fiat and Peugeot – of Toledo, Ohio), and it will be the same at others Facilities will be relocated, with the possibility of complete shutdown. There are currently around 10,000 strikers with a total of almost 150,000 members.

At the start of salary negotiations, the UAW demanded a 36% salary increase over the next four years and the reinstatement of an inflation clause. Employers, on the other hand, offer between 17.5% and 20%. And they refuse to change the two-tier pay system, which means lower salaries for new employees and no access to salary bonuses and profit sharing, at least until they reach eight years of service. The importance of the combat measure arises from the fact that it simultaneously affects the three giants of the automotive world. Employees are also demanding that the ecological switch to electric cars does not come at the expense of employee rights. It’s worth noting that at Tesla, the company owned by the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, workers aren’t even unionized.

The last strike in the North American automotive sector occurred at General Motors in 2019. It involved almost 50,000 employees and lasted five weeks, but the two-tier salary system was not broken, there were no layoffs and there was a meager salary increase. Between 2007 and 2009, during the sector’s crisis, the UAW abandoned many of autoworkers’ achievements under the guise of defending jobs. Nevertheless, union sources assure that 65 factories have closed so far this century (CNN in Spanish, September 15).

In March of this year, a new leadership (Unite All Workers for Democracy, UAWD) was imposed on the UAW in a close election, exploiting the discredit of the previous bureaucratic leadership, which was embroiled in corruption scandals and rejected because of its ties to employers. The new union president is Shawn Fain.

The conflict in the automotive sector coincides with an increase in strikes in the United States. In the first eight months of 2023, more than 323,000 workers took part in coercive measures, a higher number than in all of 2022, a year that again saw 50% more strikers than in 2021. The screenwriters and actors, in conflict since May and July have been the spearhead of the new wave.

Long live the awakening of the American labor movement.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news