'It's Looking That Way': Auto Workers Union Warns Of Looming Strike After Biden Says He's 'Not Worried'


The president of the union that represents 150,000 workers of General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis warned Thursday that a potential strike is looking increasingly likely as the union struggles to strike a deal with the automakers over hours worked, benefits and a requested 46% wage hike.

Key Facts

UAW President Shawn Fain said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that negotiations haven’t progressed much since 97% of union members voted to authorize a strike in August, four years after a strike at GM cost the automaker nearly $4 billion.

Fain also said the union is holding out on its endorsement of President Joe Biden in the 2024 election cycle until he addresses concerns about how employees will be protected in the transition to electric vehicles, comments that come a week after Biden said he’s “not worried about a strike until it happens.”

The looming strike will force politicians to “pick a side” when it comes to organized labor, Fain said on CNBC’s Last Call on Wednesday.

Thursday’s Morning Joe interview came after a planned Wednesday afternoon meeting with Ford and a comment from Stellantis—the maker of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep—that said the company planned to submit a counter offer to the union by the end of the week; a meeting with GM was scheduled for Thursday.

The UAW workers’ contract will expire after 11:59 p.m. September 14 and leadership will be able to call for a strike after that—the union is asking for the elimination of the companies’ tiered wage and benefits system, a 46% wage increase to “to offset inflation and match the generous salary increases of company executives” and a reduction in workweek hours from 40 to 32.

Stellantis, which has 43,000 union workers, on Thursday said discussions between UAW and the company “continue to be constructive and collaborative” and that the bargaining team is focused on reaching an agreement that “balances the concerns” of employees “with our vision for the future.”

Media representatives for Ford and GM did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment Thursday, nor did UAW.

Key Background

UAW represents roughly 150,000 workers of the so-called Big Three in the U.S. automaking industry, all three of which have cut jobs and undergone oher cost-cutting measures in the last few years. Ford laid off as many as 1,000 people in June and GM last fall closed an information technology center in Arizona and laid off 940 employees. GM also said more than 5,000 employees took buyouts early in the summer, and Stellantis offered buyouts to more than 33,000 of its employees in April. UAW’s strike authorization comes four years after 48,000 GM employees struck for 40 days and cost the company nearly $4 billion. The union has said it has more than $825 million in a strike fund—enough to give each striking member $500 per week for 11 weeks.

Big Number

$5 billion. That’s how much just 10 days of an auto workers strike could cost the U.S. economy, according to consulting firm Anderson Economic Group.

What To Watch For

Whether car prices spike. Car buyers just started to see a return of discounts and plentiful options on car lots, but a strike could force automakers to dip into their build up of inventory and reduce buyer incentives, Business Insider reported.


The UPS delivery service earlier this summer managed to narrowly avoid a strike that would have seen 340,000 employees walk off the job over pay for part-time workers and cost of living adjustments. The UPS strike would have been the largest against a single employer in U.S. history and cost upwards of $7 billion, the Anderson Economic Group said. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters approved a five-year contract agreement a week before the strike was set to begin.

Further Reading

UAW leader warns of strike after Biden suggested he wasn’t worried about talks failing (NBC News)

UAW Union Approves Potential Strike At Ford, GM And Stellantis—Here’s What A Strike Would Mean (Forbes)

Teamsters Approve Historic UPS Contract To Avert Strike (Forbes)

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