The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has approved potential strikes at Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis, citing risks to its members as automakers transition to electric vehicles (EVs). In the strike authorization vote, 97% of UAW members attending voted in favor of possible strikes at the Big Three plants, which employ approximately 145,000 UAW members.
For this year’s negotiations, the UAW has set several ambitious goals. The goal is to restore treaty provisions that were waived in the 2007 negotiations, including health insurance for retirees and the elimination of a traditional pension plan. In addition, the union wants to ensure protection against job losses and plant closures as it considers the potential risk posed by car manufacturers switching from conventional combustion vehicles to electric vehicles.
One of the UAW’s main concerns is the lower demand for labor in the production of electric vehicles compared to conventional cars. Because electric vehicles have less complex components and require fewer parts, production time is significantly reduced. Many EV manufacturing jobs are at newly opened or under construction EV battery plants, which are often joint ventures between automakers and battery manufacturers like LG. Accordingly, workers at these locations are not considered direct employees of Ford, GM or Stellantis.
Despite the strike authorization, Ford, GM and Stellantis have expressed their intention to reach an agreement with the UAW. They emphasize the need for a skilled and competitive workforce in the developing industry. Ford, GM and Stellantis commit to constructive and cooperative discussions with the UAW, emphasizing that the strikes would not benefit any party.