UAW’s potential strike could make vehicles even pricier


The United Auto Workers union could strike when its contract ends on Sept. 14 after General Motors, Stellantis and Ford dismissed its demands.

MINNEAPOLIS — What was called the “summer of strikes” still may not be over. 

The United Autoworkers Union is edging closer to a strike for its 146,000 members when its contract ends on Sept. 14. Workers for General Motors, Stellantis (formerly Chrysler) and Ford are pushing for a 46% pay boost and a 32-hour week with 40 hours of pay. 

Experts say there’s a high probability for a strike, because not only can the UAW fund one for about 10 weeks, but its president is also aggressive.

The news comes as other unions are leveraging low unemployment and successfully negotiating new contracts.

Just last month, hundreds of thousands of UPS workers ratified a new contract. They had been preparing to strike after negotiations failed, which would have caused a huge shipping shake-up. 

Minnesota’s UPS union president, Jonathan Kycek, helped pass the historic contract, which will double pay raises and improve working conditions. He says it helped set a new kind of standard. 

“I think other unions are looking to it and saying, ‘Hey, look, what the Teamsters Local 638 could get done. Let’s get that for our members as well,'” said Kycek. 

“I think unions are stronger,” said professor of law at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law David Larson. “I think it’s kind of a renaissance for them.”

Larson says U.S. unions are flexing their muscles as more than 320,000 workers have gone on some 200 strikes so far this year, which is the most in 23 years, according to data by the Cornell ILR School Labor Action Tracker.

“They’re sick and tired; they’ve realized their value,” said the director of UAW Region 4, Brandon Campbell. “Our members are significantly more vigilant. They’re more determined to get better contracts across every single sector that we have.”

Campbell leads the UAW in 12 states, including Minnesota, where there are about 1,000 members. The members across the country have a hand in the entire process of producing a vehicle from the foundries to machine shops.

“We need to level this playing field. We need to reign in executive compensation and these soaring, soaring profits while wages are absolutely flatlined,” said Campbell. 

The automakers rake in huge profits, with some estimates at about $20 billion this year alone. They have dismissed the UAW’s demands as baseless.

But it would be hard to replace striking workers and the UAW hasn’t said whether it will target just one automaker. If a strike happens, the companies could lose billions in a matter of days — some of which would be passed on to consumers. 

“I guess the hope is that all consumers get a bigger share of the pie,” said Larson about being willing to walk the picket line. “So, while prices are going up, we’ll be making more money and it won’t be as hard.”


Download the free KARE 11+ app for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and other smart TV platforms to watch more from KARE 11 anytime! The KARE 11+ app includes live streams of all of KARE 11’s newscasts. You’ll also find on-demand replays of newscasts; the latest from KARE 11 Investigates, Breaking the News and the Land of 10,000 Stories; exclusive programs like Verify and HeartThreads; and Minnesota sports talk from our partners at Locked On Minnesota. 

Watch the latest local news from the Twin Cities and across Minnesota in our YouTube playlist:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *