UAW Strike Cost Company Over $1B

The American auto industry, (which includes the big three- Ford, Chrysler and General Motors) has never been the same since the 2008 recession in which Chrysler and General Motors both filed for bankruptcy and survived only through government assistance. Dozens of plants across the United States have closed since the turn of the century, and hundreds of thousands of jobs in auto manufacturing have been outsourced overseas over several decades. Trade agreements which have allowed corporations to outsource labor and save production costs have hurt workers and weakened the unions ability to negotiate for fairer wages, while simultaneously hurting American corporation’s ability to compete with foreign companies. Workers have been feeling the brunt of a changing American economy over several decades- the main strike demands of UAW reflected this as the union called for increases in wages.

Statistically, automaker CEO’s have experienced 40% pay increases over several years while workers have experienced stagnant wages, with new hires receiving markedly lower pay for the same work as seasoned veterans in the industry. Worsening the problem is the fact that the already struggling American automotive industry, which no longer wields the power it once did, simply cannot compete with foreign companies that have labor costs over 10% lower than them.

In the aftermath of the lengthy autumn strike, General Motors estimated that the recent strike cost them $1.1 billion. The ordeal occurred over six weeks, until a tentative deal was reached between the union and the company at the end of October; GM was the last big American corporation to reach a deal with the UAW union (Ford and Stellantis had settled earlier). The details of the detail were meaningful for workers; cost of living adjustments were included as standard practice moving forward along with an immediate 11% raise. A general wage increase of 25% was also included. While beneficial for workers, the soaring cost of cars may increase as a result.