The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is officially on strike against the “Big Three” Detroit automakers. What is the UAW striking for?
Well, it appears the UAW is following through on their strike threat after failing to reach new contract agreements with the likes of General Motors (NYSE:GM), Ford (NYSE:F) and Stellantis (NYSE:STLA).
The UAW gave the “Detroit Three” (or D-3) until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 14 to meet the union’s demands for higher wages, improved retirement benefits and job protections for its members. The strike is seemingly an effort to regain lost benefits from when the automakers were on the verge of bankruptcy more than 10 years ago. With each member of the D-3 reporting record or near-record profit this year, it seems the UAW is attempting to cash in on long-owed residuals.
Earlier today, plant workers from each of the Big Three walked out of facilities in Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio — one plant from each member of the trio. The picketers received an excited ovation from fellow union members. This comes as part of the union’s “Stand Up Strike” strategy.
“As time goes on, more locals may be called on to ‘Stand Up’ and join the strike,” the UAW said. “This gives us maximum leverage and maximum flexibility in our fight to win a fair contract at each of the Big Three automakers.”
The automakers apparently offered the union double-digit pay increases, but that still failed to meet negotiators’ requests.
What Is the UAW Striking For?
This summer has been something of a renaissance for labor strikes. Indeed, everyone from teachers to Hollywood writers have protested low wages and poor job security in recent months. Now, it appears the UAW is attempting to cash in on the momentum for its workers, given low unemployment and relatively strong corporate earnings this year.
It’s unclear how long UAW’s protest will last this time around. In a CNN interview with GM CEO Mary Barra, she told autoworkers that she was “frustrated” with the situation, especially given the rejection of the offer given to union members.
“I think we have an offer that resonates with our people,” Barra said. “Our team is ready to be at the table […] and we need UAW leadership to get back to the table so we can get these issues resolved and get people back to work.”
This mirrors a statement made by GM following the launch of the strike.
“We are disappointed by the UAW leadership’s actions, despite the unprecedented economic package GM put on the table, including historic wage increases and manufacturing commitments,” the statement read.
On the date of publication, Shrey Dua did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.