The United Auto Workers (UAW) union went on strike against the ‘big three’ Detroit automakers in the early hours of Friday morning. Some 13,000 auto workers have ceased making vehicles with some forming picket lines at plants in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri.

The strike came as four-year contracts between the auto companies and the union expire. The contracts, which affect 146,000 U.S. factory workers, were being re-negotiated ahead of the Sept. 14 deadline, but the union and automakers failed to come to an agreement by Thursday night.

Members of the union voted 97 percent in favor of the strike after their demand for 40 pay percent increases was rejected by General Motors (GM), Ford Motor (F), and Jeep-maker Stellantis. This is the first time in the union’s 88-year history that it has gone on strike against all three companies at once.

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For now, only three plants are being shut down due to the strikes: a Ford Bronco plant in Detroit, MI, a Stellantis Jeep factory in Toledo, OH, and a GM pickup truck plant in Missouri. But many more walkouts could be organized as time goes on and the carmakers refuse to accept the union’s demands.

“I’m extremely frustrated and disappointed. We don’t need to be in a strike right now,” said GM chief executive Mary Barra to CNBC.

Ford President and CEO Jim Farley told CNN that he is against pay increases “if it prevents us from investing in this transition to EVs [electric vehicles] and in future products like the ones we have now like a new F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S.” In 2021, Ford announced its strategy to “lead America’s shift to electric vehicles” by creating a new “mega campus” in Tennessee and related plants in Kentucky. Costing them $11.4 billion, the investment plan intends to create a lineup of brand new advanced eco-friendly cars.

“There’s a fine line here that we won’t go past, which is, we want everyone to participate in our success,” Farley said. “The line isn’t for us to go bankrupt. The line is somewhere in the middle, and the only way to resolve that is to actually negotiate.”

Former President Donald Trump weighed in on the situation via social media platform Truth Social:

The all Electric Car is a disaster for both the United Auto Workers and the American Consumer. They will all be built in China and, they are too expensive, don’t go far enough, take too long to charge, and pose various dangers under certain atmospheric conditions. If this happens, the United Auto workers will be wiped out, along with all other auto workers in the United States. The all Electric Car policy is about as dumb as Open Borders and No Voter I.D. IT IS A COMPLETE AND TOTAL DISASTER!

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union went on strike against the ‘big three’ Detroit automakers in the early hours of Friday morning.
Donald Trump on Truth Social

If the strike lasts for a long time, vehicle supply could run dry and car prices could be affected, forcing President Joe Biden, who previously has claimed to be “the most pro-union president in US history,” into a difficult situation. “Workers all over the world are watching this,” said Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, the largest organized labor federation in America. Meanwhile, UAW’s recently elected president Shawn Fain has proven to be more aggressive than past leaders of the union, as he is aggressively pursuing double-digit increases and controversial demands such as the right to strike over plant closures caused by outsourcing.

“Our union’s membership is clearly fed up with living paycheck-to-paycheck while the corporate elite and billionaire class continue to make out like bandits,” Fain recently said. “The money is there. The cause is righteous. The world is watching and the UAW is ready to stand up,” Fain added during a Facebook livestream. “This is our defining moment.”

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