The North Star


United Auto Workers Strike

UAW Deal With Detroit’s Big Three Marks “a Turning Point in the Class War”

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On October 30, the United Auto Workers union (UAW) in the U.S. reached a tentative deal with General Motors (GM), ending an unprecedented six week-long strike against the Detroit "Big Three" automakers. The deal with GM, which followed similar deals in recent days with Ford and Stellantis, represents a significant victory for the autoworkers after years of wage cuts and concessions during the 2008 financial crisis.

Through a hard fought strike, the UAW was able to gain significant wage increases in its deals with automakers. The agreement with Ford includes 25 percent wage increases over four and a half years, including 11 percent immediately, and won back its Cost of Living adjustments that it had lost as a concession during the 2008 financial crisis. The deal also succeeded in eliminating wage tiers, a divisive tactic used by Ford to keep wages low for newly hired autoworkers. This means that, in some cases, workers who were underpaid because of tiers will see immediate raises of 53 to 88 percent.

The deal with Stellantis appears to mirror the deal with Ford with the notable agreement of bringing jobs back to the Belvidere auto plant which the company had idled earlier this year, committing to employing two shifts for the production of a midsize truck and adding 1,000 jobs to a new battery plant there.

As for GM, in addition to significant wage increases, the union won another victory against the tier system by forcing GM to bring workers in its lower-paid subsidiaries into its national agreement. These workers had been excluded in the past and were therefore subject to worse conditions and salaries than those in the national agreement.

Finally, on a more symbolic note, the proposed new contracts expire on April 30, 2028, to give enough time for other unions to align their contract expiration with the UAW, which would put the next potential strike date on May 1st 2028, which happens to be International Workers' Day.

Shawn Fain, president of UAW

This symbolic gesture by the UAW sends a strong signal to the rest of the North American labour movement. As the union president Shawn Fain puts it:

"This contract is about more than just economic gains for autoworkers, its a turning point in the class war that's been raging in this country for the past forty years. For too long, its been one sided and working class people have been left behind. that's why this contract is more than just a contract. Its a call to action to workers everywhere to organize and fight for a better life..."

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