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United Auto Workers and Big Three Automakers at Impasse

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United Auto Workers (UAW) president Shawn Fain expressed on Wednesday that despite ongoing negotiations, autoworkers and the Big Three automakers are still considerably distant from reaching an agreement. Fain cited that an all-out strike involving all three automakers is still very much a possibility.

During a webcast with members, Fain stated, “We’re keeping all of our options open.” The UAW has been engaging in talks with Ford Motor Co. (F), General Motors Co. (GM), and Stellantis NV (STLA), but although progress has been made, both parties remain significantly apart. Negotiations will continue until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

Fain explicitly mentioned the unprecedented potential for a simultaneous strike against all three major automakers, which would be a first in the union’s history. Additionally, if a deal cannot be reached, the UAW may resort to “standup strikes” as a strategy to maintain an element of surprise and gain leverage in negotiations.

While targeted strikes could help the UAW avoid disbursing strike pay to their entire membership, estimated at 150,000 workers, these actions could have implications that extend beyond the immediate parties involved. Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, emphasized that strikes at critical parts plants could potentially impact a broader range of industries. As an example, he cited the 1998 strike against GM, which led to shutdowns affecting over 150,000 workers.

The most recent major strike involving U.S. autoworkers occurred in 2019 at GM, lasting nearly six weeks and involving approximately 50,000 workers.

See: Would a United Auto Workers strike provide an opportunity for Tesla — and push up used-car prices?

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