Union workers at the Big 3 Automakers in the USA (General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis) are preparing for a potential strike on September 14, 2023 when their collective bargaining agreements are set to simultaneously expire. Workers at all three companies are represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) which recently elected a new, rank-and-file, member-democracy-oriented slate of leaders, including union president Shawn Fain. If the strike happens at all three “majors” (large domestic auto-companies in the USA) then nearly 150,000 workers will go out on strike, a historic act of collective worker solidarity.
UAW worker-members have three major demands: an end to two-tier wages and benefits, cost of living raises, and secure union jobs in a just transition to electric vehicles. The just transition point is uniquely salient in the auto-industry and car-manufacturing-dependent communities. President Joe Biden’s lauded Inflation Reduction Act, and other investment heavy legislative achievements, have been touted as the beginning of a new “Green Industrial Policy” in the USA that will reportedly bring back manufacturing jobs to communities decimated by neoliberal deindustrialization and cause a surge in new union organizing and density. However, many workers, organizers, and intellectuals have pointed out that large amounts of these new Green Jobs, in auto and other heavy manufacturing sectors, have been going to Right-to-Work states where union organizing is much more challenging.
The UAW’s struggle here is a direct challenge to this supposedly emergent green technocratic Keynesianism that the Democratic Party’s center is trying to hype-up as being the savior of the middle-class in the USA in the face of rising political disempowerment, social oppression, economic immiseration, and climate breakdown. As socialists committed to workers’ emancipation, human liberation, and ecological flourishing, it is vital that we understand the UAW’s struggle as a struggle of our own and work to ensure the greatest possible victory for our class, for our communities, and for our living planet.
If you would like to learn how to get more involved with UAW solidarity organizing in DSA then please join the #labor channel on the Twin Cities DSA slack, sign-up to become a DSA National Labor Commission (NLC) member, donate to DSA Labor’s Labor Solidarity Fund, and sign DSA Labor’s Big Three Strike Ready Pledge.
By Riley D