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Another Autoworker Walkout

Due to rising inflation and other issues caused by the ever-complicated American economy, the resilient automobile industry has decided to strike.

On Sept. 15, United Auto Workers (UAW) officially went on strike, aiming to present their demands to the “Big 3” automobile companies: General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler).

A total of 13,000 autoworkers are on strike at the time of writing, with concerns about pay and a shorter workweek being at the forefront of issues presented to the automotive industry titans.

“The UAW is seeking, among other demands, a 40% pay raise over the course of a four-year contract, the return of cost-of-living increases and pension plans, restrictions on the reliance on part-time autoworkers and forced overtime, and a four-day workweek,” according to the Washington Examiner.

This also marks the first time the UAW has physically struck against its parent companies on this scale.

In their history, spanning 88 years, “the UAW had always negotiated with one automaker at a time, limiting the industry-wide impact of any possible work stoppages. Each deal with an automaker was viewed as a template, but not a guarantee, for subsequent contract negotiations.

“Now, roughly 13,000 of 146,000 workers at the three companies are on strike, making life complicated for automakers’ operations, while limiting the drain on the union’s $825 million strike fund,” according to the Associated Press.

President Biden has ironically signaled support of the strike and hopes each side can come to a valid agreement:

“‘The companies have made some significant offers,’ Biden said, adding, ‘But I believe they should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW,’” according to CNBC.

However, this support has received significant backlash from his adversaries since some of his climate policies emphasize the transition from gas vehicles to electric vehicles, which helped cause some of the autoworkers’ woes.

“‘The switch to electric vehicles is a long-run concern for autoworkers,’ Madland said. ‘They want to ensure that they can still have the good kinds of jobs that they and their predecessors have fought for in this new and emerging industry,’” according to the Washington Examiner.

Former President Donald Trump, a potential candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, has also issued an opinion on the current executive’s handling and impact of the UAW strike.

Trump blamed Biden for crippling the automotive industry with premature climate and electric policies, causing automotive workers and businesses to look across the ocean to China for better conditions. 

“‘The autoworkers will not have any jobs, Kristen, because all of these cars are going to be made in China. The electric cars, automatically, are going to be made in China,’ Trump told NBC News’ Kristen Welker,” according to CNBC.

Trump also portioned some of the blame on UAW President Shawn Fain for not accurately representing his automotive union members.

“‘I think he’s not doing a good job in representing his union, because he’s not going to have a union in three years from now. Those jobs are all going to be gone, because all of those electric cars are going to be made in China. That’s what’s happening,’ Trump said.

“Fain has previously said that a second Trump presidency would be a ‘disaster.’ But he has also withheld his endorsement of President Joe Biden,” according to CNBC.

Moreover, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued scathing statements toward the Biden White House, dragging Biden’s economic policies and blaming the executive branch for the labor uproar this summer.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clark criticized Biden for his adamant support of unionizing as many jobs as possible, even at the expense of national prosperity:

“‘The UAW strike and indeed the ‘summer of strikes’ is the natural result of the Biden administration’s ‘whole of government’ approach to promoting unionization at all costs,’” according to the Washington Examiner.

In spite of a lackluster economic look for 2023, the Biden administration seems to be simultaneously building a limp economy while also encouraging unions to strike because of it. 

Keep that in mind when 2024 rolls around, America.

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