During a practice picket outside of a Stellantis plant in Detroit, United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain discussed the possibility of a strike with union members as contract negotiations with Big-Three automakers draw closer to their September 14 deadline.
The UAW has promised to strike should OEM executives fail to agree to their terms, which include large pay raises and guarantees that auto manufacturing jobs will be protected throughout the transition to electric vehicles. Fain has been a polarizing figure during these conversations, promising to stand firm against “corporate greed” and tossing a proposal drafted by Stellantis into a trashcan during a Facebook livestream earlier this month.
During the test rally, Fain told attendees that “The clock is ticking” for OEMs to avoid a strike. “Today, I want you guys to have some fun practicing for what we’re going to have to do if these companies don’t give us our fair share,” the UAW chief added.
Results from a union member vote to authorize a strike are due later today. Fain’s statements, combined with the vote, the simulated demonstration and the approaching deadline, signal that the union now fully anticipates a strike. The consequences of such an action are difficult to predict, as the UAW chief has intentionally avoided specifying who the strike will target. However, researchers expect OEMs to incur massive losses if they fail to reach an agreement by the deadline. With only three weeks left for negotiations and little progress to show for the last month, it would take a dramatic reversal for the union’s course to change.