Auto Union Strike Escalates, Ford Evades; Consumer Impact Looms Amidst Billion-Dollar Losses


The United Auto Workers (UAW) union escalated its strike efforts against dominant automakers last Friday as workers descended upon all 38 parts-distribution centers controlled by General Motors and Stellantis, the company that owns Jeep and Ram. However, Ford has been exempt from the additional strikes, having met several of the union’s needs during ongoing negotiations over the last week.

President Biden declared his intent to join the union on the picket line in Michigan to express his solidarity with UAW members. This strike marks an ongoing dispute over wages, job security, and profit share, as union members argue for a fair share of the value they have contributed to the companies.

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UAW President Fain commended Ford for showing seriousness about reaching a deal and applauded the progress it has made so far. Unfortunately, Fain stated that the same cannot be said for GM and Stellantis, both of which have continued to dismiss the union’s proposals. These companies need significant persuasion, according to Fain.

The impact of these strikes expands beyond union workers, with potential effects on consumers due to part shortages in car dealer service departments. Striking workers have temporarily paused on targeting larger production plants and have instead shifted their focus on parts distribution centers. This strategic move could gradually intensify the impact felt by carmakers and potentially force them to reconsider their negotiation stance.

Currently, the financial impact of the strike amounts to nearly $1.6 billion in economic damage, including over $500 million for the companies involved and more than $100 million in wages lost to strikers and layoffs. Despite this, the impacts are yet to fully reach the consumers. Experts predict a noticeable shortage of new vehicles on the market within the coming weeks due to the extended strike.

The union seeks considerable wage increases over the next four years, pointing to the enormous recent profits and high CEO wages at these automaker companies. They argue that such profits and high executive salaries are unfair in the face of employee pay disparity. While Ford has agreed to some of the union’s proposals, the others maintain that they need to invest profits into an expensive transition from gasoline-powered cars to electric vehicles.

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