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Looming Auto Workers Strike Latest Stumbling Block for Biden Reelection Effort

Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2023
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by Neil Banerji
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34 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Neil Banerji

united auto workers holding strike signs in detroit

According to the Associated Press, the leaders of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union are considering targeted strikes at a small number of factories run by each of Detroit’s three automakers if they can’t reach contract agreements by Thursday night. If the smaller strikes cascade into a broader, industry-wide walkout, it could threaten Biden’s support from organized labor and spell disaster for the president’s re-election bid.

The UAW represents about 146,000 hourly workers at the three companies facing strikes, General Motors, Ford, and Jeep-maker Stellantis. Just a 10-day strike of the entire union could cost the U.S. economy as much as $5 billion. In 2019, a 40-day strike by 46,000 General Motors workers cost the company more than $3.5 billion.

Consumers could also see a dramatic spike in new and used vehicle costs as a consequence of a longer strike, creating the possibility for more widespread economic turmoil.

The union has laid out an aggressive set of demands that it says must be met to avoid a strike, including a double-digit wage increase, the restoration of cost-of-living adjustments, a 32-hour workweek, medical benefits for retirees, and the creation of a program that would pay workers on layoff and end different wage classifications.

In addition, the UAW wants the right to strike over plant closures, a demand that follows the controversial closure of a Stellantis plant in Illinois earlier this year.

With an $825 million strike fund, the UAW appears armed for a long holdout. A tight labor market in recent years has given the union additional leverage.

Auto makers have proposed a far more modest set of concessions. General Motors is offering a 10 percent pay raise for workers spread out over a four-year contract, while Ford has proposed 9 percent and Stellantis offered 14.5 percent.

While the UAW’s demands are indeed steep, they come in the context of record profits for car manufacturers. General Motors’ revenue increased 25 percent in the second quarter of this year over 2022 numbers, handily beating analysts’ expectations. Ford also recently raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast following a better-than-expected second quarter.

Revenue increases have typically come alongside better wages for employees. But car makers say that despite bringing in more money, their profits are being cut into by the Biden administration’s increasingly stringent emissions regulations and looming electric vehicle mandates. Biden’s EPA has proposed a new rule that would require two-thirds of all new car sales to be electric vehicles by 2032. In 2022, just 5.8 percent of new cars sold were fully electric.

In order to meet these goals, car companies say they need to invest more in the switch to EV production, and thus have less to offer in pay increases for workers in order to remain competitive as Tesla continues to gobble up an outsized share of the EV market. Because EVs require significantly fewer parts and labor to produce, a shift away from gas vehicles could also cause 100,000 auto workers to lose their jobs.

For his part, Biden has remained seemingly unconcerned about the possibility of a strike. Earlier this month, the president declared that he is “not worried” about a work stoppage.

Although UAW President Shawn Fain said he was “shocked” at Biden’s comments, union leadership has remained staunch supporters of Biden’s EV agenda. Earlier this year, Fain enthusiastically announced, “the UAW supports and is ready for the transition to a clean auto industry.”

All signs suggest that, at least for now, UAW leadership will remain firm supporters of Biden, even as his climate agenda threatens the jobs of UAW members – something which could create a serious problem for Biden heading into next year’s election if Republicans can capitalize on it.

Former President Donald Trump, who remains the heavy favorite for the GOP nomination in 2024, evidently recognized this opportunity and released a video blasting Biden’s EV mandate and asking for UAW workers to back him next year.

In a Labor Day post on Truth Social, Trump also decried Biden’s EV policies as “idiotic,” writing “Shawn Fain, the respected President of the United Auto Workers, cannot even think about allowing all electric cars – they will all be made in China, and the Auto Industry in America will cease to exist!”

The Detroit-based auto unions continue to be a powerful voting bloc in a state that typically votes Democrat, but broke for Trump in 2016 and was a battleground again in 2020. If tens of thousands of UAW workers decide that Trump has the best plan to protect their livelihoods, it could spell disaster for Biden next year.

Neil Banerji is a proud Las Vegas resident and former student at the University of Oxford. In his spare time, he enjoys reading Winston Churchill and Edmund Burke.

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PaulE
PaulE
6 months ago

At the end of the day, these ludicrous union demands will simply hasten the move by the various American auto manufactures to move their assembly plants to places like Mexico and elsewhere overseas, that have far lower labor costs. This will also lead to an increase in the amount of robotics being used throughout the assembly process. The forced march the United States has been put on to an EV only option society requires far fewer workers per vehicle to manufacture, so the union workers are only cutting their own throats in terms of job security. The American auto manufactures are already all losing money hand over fist with the federal government EV mandate, so the unions are squeezing the companies for money they don’t have at this point. It short, it is repeat of the mistakes the auto unions all made in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

The management of the auto unions still think it’s the 1960s, where there was no global competition for the product, and they had a captive domestic market. If Team Biden gets a second term, I predict we will be seeing Chinese made EVs being dumped on the U.S. market in record numbers, as part of the continuing payoff the Bidens owe the CCP. That will only lead to less U.S. cars being built and less need for auto union labor.

Rik
Rik
6 months ago

They want $46 / hour pay raise over 4 years plus a 32 hour work week but still get paid like a 40 hour week! Plus more vacation days. Don’t you think that if they get their demands filled I imagine that everybody else would be demanding the same? . . . Plus, the costs would have to be passed on to people buying cars. And of course our idiotic president would just love it because then more people would not be able to afford buying or driving these unaffordable cars. They also probably think then that more people would buy his electric cars. A extremely stupid and bad idea driven by a greedy union not caring about the repercussions on the populace and economy!

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
6 months ago

Even when they have an organized labor friendly regime and president in office, labor unions still want more than even those who favor them are giving them. How many U.S. industries, such as the textile, steel and medical industries, does organized labor have to destroy in the U.S. before we stop allowing organized labor to influence government so much?

Charles Williams
Charles Williams
6 months ago

Bring in more robotics and fire all of the overpaid assses. They are a big part of the reason that the new $20K cars now cost $60k. The manufacturers have never absorbed the cost of doing business with the unions. We have.

anna hubert
anna hubert
6 months ago

They will strike themselves right out of the job Too dense to see it

Garyk
Garyk
6 months ago

Shawn fain is out of control making such RIDICULOUS demands.
Obviously he knows NOTHING about managing a business or cost and revenue projections.
He’s out to make a name for himself and the ultimate costs to consumers aren’t even in his equation

Does he and these workers know that ALL these costs end up raising prices to the CUSTOMERS???
Just like the marxist democrat party, union officials only care about their own greed.
This fain is obviously not that bright a guy and looks stupid like pelosi ripping up proposals and throwing them in the trash. GROW UP

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
6 months ago

What the Big Three needs are more machines to eliminate the need for striking workers. If they don’t like their jobs wait until its outsourced to China, India or Mexico.

Garyk
Garyk
6 months ago

So here’s a thought….you union members should stop voting for the failed marxist democrat party and their ilk and maybe you wouldn’t need 46% increases to raise your families and have a decent standard of living????
Nobody was facing uncontrolled inflation,record fuel,food,utilities,interest rates and tax increases like now under President Trump.
Why don’t you start to realize that the democrats LIE,CHEAT and are PLAYING You!

Laura Bentz
Laura Bentz
6 months ago

I hope they do break with Biden next year. This is ridiculous. All cars will be made in China and be ridiculously expensive by 2032… If they are not pricey already…

Sue
Sue
6 months ago

Hope the UAW workers vote their conscious and not just party vote. Use the brain and sense that God has given you.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
6 months ago

Automate More jobs then

David Millikan
David Millikan
6 months ago

If automakers are smart they would refuse to make electric vehicles which is going to cost MORE than 100,000 people to lose their jobs.
Remember, ALL the people that lost their high paying jobs when Dictator Beijing biden KILLED our Energy Independence and recently made sure we don’t have any Oil being Drilled all the way through 2024, on purpose.
There is still NO Electric Vehicle Repair Shops or Road Mechanics let alone USELESS Charging Stations in the USA to even cover Dictator Beijing biden’s FANTASY WORLD of trying to FORCE this GARBAGE down our throats let alone two-thirds of New vehicles be Electric and sold by 2030.
My question is; where do they toll the electric vehicle to when it breaks down and who is going to fix it?
What are you going to do in the middle of the night with an emergency and you didn’t charge the electric vehicle and there’s not enough power to go anywhere?
Many, many unanswered questions about electric vehicles.
But Dictator Beijing biden is going to FORCE electric vehicles on you regardless how USELESS and DANGEROUS not to mention OVERPRICED they are including costing way more than 100,000 jobs.

phoenix
phoenix
6 months ago

For the literal crap they produce. They should get 0 an hour. Go ahead and go on strike see if anyone notices.
I know I won’t.

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
6 months ago

Not only taxation without representation but bureaucrats that were not confirmed/approved by the Senate are writing policies that denies us choice and participation! Why isn’t this being challenged by Republicans?
Ann Carlson, President Biden’s former pick to lead the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), still runs the agency and shapes key policies despite failing the Senate confirmation process.
In May, the White House announced it had withdrawn Carlson’s nomination to serve as NHTSA’s administrator amid criticism from lawmakers and industry groups over her past climate activism. However, as of Tuesday, Carlson remains the agency’s acting administrator and last week helped roll out aggressive federal fuel efficiency standards automakers argued would cost more than $100 billion.
msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-nominee-who-failed-senate-confirmation-still-leading-admin-s-crackdown-on-gas-cars/ar-AA1eGluM?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=b267d73b9b534c2caabe3a4c35d6f8aa&ei=112

Robert Chase
Robert Chase
6 months ago

“While the UAW’s demands are indeed steep, they come in the context of record profits for car manufacturers.”
So now the workers are automatically shareholders with wage increase tied to profits. What a sweetheart deal! That is unless you are a car consumer.

Garyk
Garyk
6 months ago

Yes, give EVERYONE a ridiculous raise and untenable demands – fain and anyone listening to him are quite ignorant

usa american
usa american
6 months ago

trump should be blamed for being a reverse robinhood

Jackie
Jackie
6 months ago

Like Joe needs anything else to be a stumbling block for him!! We need the media to be able to tell even the Democrat voters the real truth about Democrats!!

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