As many as 146,000 auto workers could go on strike this week—the largest strike by active employees in 25 years in the United States. Though the strike in Hollywood by actors and writers is larger than the potential UAW strike—with over 170,000 walking the picket lines—many of those were not working on projects when the strike hit, CNN reported.
United Auto Workers are in negotiations with American auto manufacturers Ford, General Motors and Stellantis over a new four-year contract, according to CNN. The contracts run out Thursday night. Nearly all members, 97%, voted to authorize a strike, according to WXYZ-TV.
The UAW is asking for a 20% raise, plus four cost-of-living raises each year of 5% for a total of a 46% increase in wages over the life of the contract. Ford and GM countered with a 10% raise. Stellantis is offering a 14.5% raise. The union also wants to restore pensions for new workers; pensions were given up in the 2007 negotiations when the auto industry was in a downturn, according to CNN. A four-day workweek and limits on forced overtime have also been requested.
On August 31, the UAW filed complaints to the National Labor Relations Board accusing GM and Stellantis of not responding to the union's proposals, according to CNBC. Ford was not named in the complaints; though the UAW was critical of the company's counterproposal, Ford was the only one of the three to respond by that time. GM and Stellantis denied the allegations.
“This is a claim with no basis in fact, and we are disappointed to learn that [UAW leader Shawn] Fain is more focused on filing frivolous legal charges than on actual bargaining,” Stellantis told CNBC at the time. “We will vigorously defend this charge when the time comes, but right now we are more focused on continuing to bargain in good faith for a new agreement. We will not allow Mr. Fain’s tactics to distract us from that important work to secure the future for our employees.”
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told CNN Monday that he didn't think the strike would happen, echoing what President Joe Biden said on Labor Day.
“The auto companies and the unions are working from a position of strength,” Adeyemo told the network. “When I was last in government during the financial crisis they were in a very different position. Today they’re talking about how they can distribute profits…in order to make sure their companies can continue to grow. We look forward to them reaching a resolution.”
However, many analysts are more pessimistic that an agreement will be reached. Art Wheaton, director of labor studies at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in Buffalo, told CNN that while he expects a deal will ultimately be reached, he believes a strike is imminent.
“I think there’s a 99% chance of a strike,” he said.
If a strike happens, it could cost the three companies $5 billion over 10 days, the Anderson Economic Group told CNN.