‘Stand-up strike’ looming; one day left before UAW contract expires

The UAW and the Big Three automakers have until tomorrow night to agree on a new contract.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:24 PM EDT
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MICHIGAN (WNEM) - The UAW and the Big Three automakers have until tomorrow night to agree on a new contract, but the union members have a plan in place if the groups can’t find common ground.

“Different times deserve different measures, right? They want to be difficult with us and why not be difficult with them?” said UAW member Charles Wade.

Wade and other members of the UAW union are prepared to go on strike if the Detroit Three fail to present them with an agreement they feel is fair.

This comes after UAW President Shawn Fain laid out their plans for the potential walkout.

“We’re going to be doing things differently this time around,” Fain said. “First of all, for the first time in our history, we may strike all three of the Big Three at once.”

During a Facebook Live on Wednesday evening, Sept. 13, Fain announced what he is calling the “stand-up strike,” drawing on the sit-down strikes of 1937.

“In a spirit of the sit-down strike, the stand-up strike will keep the companies guessing. It’s going to rely on discipline, organization, and creativity. The stand-up strike begins with all of our locals from parts distribution centers to assembly plants, maintaining a constant strike readiness,” he said.

The plan calls for a staggered approach for members to begin striking.

At 10 p.m. Thursday evening, the union will announce a select group of locals to begin the strike while the remaining chapters will continue to work and hold supportive activities until they are called by union representatives to walk out.

“This is going to provide your national negotiators with incredible leverage at the bargaining table. If the companies has given us an insulting offer, if they keep playing games, if they refuse to bargain in good faith, then we have the power to keep escalating and keep taking plants out,” Fain said.

The plan takes into consideration local economies.

“The strategy, I do believe, is just to keep some people working, and at the same time, it doesn’t really drastically destroy the community’s economy. If every plant’s- when a plant shuts down, it messes up a lot of things around it, your mom-and-pop shops, your gas stations,” Wade said.

If the two sides fail to come to an agreement by 11:59 p.m. Thursday evening, the union will hold a kickoff rally to the strike in Detroit at 5 p.m. Friday night.

The UAW is currently asking for an immediate 20 percent raise, plus another 5 percent raise each year for the next four years to adjust pensions because of inflation in addition to more benefits like four-day work weeks and the right to strike if other plants close.

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