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US auto workers could strike after contract expires September 14

DETROIT, Michigan: The United Auto Workers (UAW) union said this week that its members voted to authorize a strike at the Detroit Three automakers if agreement is not reached before the current four-year contract expires on 14th September.

UAW President Shawn Fain, who leads the union that represents about 150,000 workers, said the authorization was approved by 97 percent of voting members at General Motors (GM), Ford and Stellantis.

The union did not plan to extend the deadline to negotiate a new labor contract, he added, stating, “The deadline is 14th September. We have a lot of options that we are looking at but extension on the contract is not one of them,” as quoted by Reuters.

President Joe Biden, who met with Fain last month, told reporters in Nevada he is concerned about a potential UAW strike.

“I think that there should be a circumstance where jobs that are being displaced are replaced with new jobs for UAW members and the salaries should be commensurate,” he said.

National UAW agreements should also cover jobs at battery joint ventures that currently pay less, some US Senators have said.

Union officials said that workers made numerous concessions over the last two decades, including giving up wage hikes, defined benefit pensions and post-retirement health care benefits.

“We are fed up. We have sat back for decades while these companies continue to just take and take and take from us,” Fain said.

Fain’s demands include wage hikes of 46 percent and an end to the tiered wage system that pays new hires less than veterans.

The Detroit Three are expected to return to the bargaining table next week with counter proposals to the UAW demands, he said.

While the vote does not guarantee a strike will be called, it gives the union the option to call a strike if an agreement is not finalized by 14th September.

GM, Ford and Stellantis have said they hope to reach a deal that is fair to workers, but also gives the companies flexibility. US auto workers could strike after contract expires September 14

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