Let’s Strike Tomorrow!

September 14, 2023 - 2:03pm -- Selcuk Gulboy

We will get an auto strike tomorrow. 

How do I know? Do I have a plant at the negotiating table? Have I bugged Shawn Fain’s phone (head of UAW)? 

No, no, no.

But my gut tells me that the Union is aching to punch their company bosses in the gut. It’s just been too long to live under the guise of harmony as the truckers, pilots, and dockworkers have shown the world their power.

The money differences while, they seem big on paper, will be compromised because labor costs for Union and non-Union auto workers will ultimately be within reach of each other.

I think that what we need to understand is that the UAW is a shrinking entity, about a third of the size it was 25 years ago. 

Its traditional leadership has been blah and corrupt, seeing their jobs as a road to personal wealth. Management opponents have watched their companies shrink as Japanese and Koreans build better, livelier cars.

Only pickup trucks have stayed the dominant arena where Ford, GM, and Stellantis continue to rule over foreign firms, with no likelihood of building a dominant foreign truck in non-Union plants.

The Union is observing new battery plants being built. The auto building plants of the future will have smaller staffs.

So what both the Union and the car manufacturers envision over the next 10 years is a shrunken staff and fewer gas-driven cars. More will be assembled in Mexico. Self-driving cars appear fairly likely within 10 years, but whether drivers will fade away is an unknown. 

If the UAW wants ` an important position in the future of the American auto business, this is the moment to take a stand because an electric, possibly non-driver car industry will require fewer Union workers. Assembly will more and more be done by robots, and electric cars with fewer parts take fewer assembly workers to build.

I believe the UAW with new, younger leadership, sees this as a moment to show its strength, while management still needs people and the American industrial workforce is having trouble recruiting. In 10 years that may no longer be the case.

This is the moment for the Union to push. Whether management is willing to compromise while the companies are in a state of flux will soon be demonstrated. 

I envision a strike, but not a terribly lengthy one. Both companies and unions can afford one to show off their strength and toughness. 

We will know very soon.

Questions: Were you ever involved in a strike? What were you trying to achieve?


This article was originally posted on https://todaysmachiningworld.com/lets-strike-tomorrow/

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