LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Many people are standing with the UAW during its fight. Some workers say they had hoped it wouldn’t come to this, while others say they were ready and waiting and now they want change.
“This is not a spot that any of us wanted to be in. None of us wanted to have to strike,” one UAW member said.
The clock struck midnight on Friday but still no deal was on the table between the UAW and the Big Three automakers. Thousands have walked off the job leaving the future of the automotive industry in a tight spot.
Officials including President Joe Biden have come forward to back the UAW. He said the automakers have made significant offers. “Auto companies have seen record profits. Those record profits have not been shared fairly in my view with those workers,” Biden said.
“They’re saying oh we’re going to go bankrupt. Well, y’all gave yourselves big raises; 40% increase in CEO pay, well that’s 300 times more than your workers. Maybe you should take a hit,” Representative Rashida Tlaib said.
The UAW is asking for a 40% pay hike but so far automakers have offered half that.
“For the life of the contract, the initial demands were over $100 billion dollars. We still have a ways to go with the offer they put on the table last night,” GM CEO, Mary Barra said.
A former UAW spokesperson says it’s now likely that the UAW will see more demands met while economists say the strike is dangerous and could cause the shutdown of more plants. This strike could lead to a more than $5 billion-dollar economic loss nationwide after 10 days. Nonetheless, union workers say they are fed up and want what they deserve.
“The people in the plant are working their butts off and it’s bad when a person in a plant making the cars can’t afford to buy them,” former UAW member of 37 years, Jesse Castillo said. “The middle class of America are feeling exhausted, frustrated and held down. It’s our time to stand up,” one UAW striker added.
Just hours after workers at a Ford plant in Wayne walked off the job Friday morning, the company announced that 600 non-striking workers have been temporarily laid off. Ford along with GM and Stellantis leaders all say that they tried to negotiate with the UAW in hopes of avoiding a strike and added that meeting all of the union’s demands, including a 40% pay increase and a four-day workweek may not be possible.