United Auto Workers, a prominent American labor union, has authorized its 146,000 workers to strike, per NBC. As of Tuesday, which is Day 12 of the strike, auto workers have walked out of 38 locations in 20 states, according to The Associated Press.
So far, roughly 18,600 workers have gone on strike at Stellantis, Ford Motor and GM, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The workers’ demands include a four-day workweek, more time off, an end to wage tiers, a 36% pay increase over four years, defined benefit pension plans and retiree health care for all union members, as well as more limited use of temporary workers, per the UAW.
What impact would a four-day workweek have?
The UAW is demanding that “overtime” begin at 32 hours, per CNBC. This demand contrasts drastically to workers outside the auto industry who often fight for more hours instead of fighting for a standard four-day workweek, according to Axios.
Sharon Block, a professor at Harvard Law School, believes that a four-day workweek could aid electric vehicle development since these vehicles take less time to assemble, per Marketplace.
“It’s a well known fact that assembling electric vehicles takes fewer person power hours than an internal combustion engine,” she said.
Companies might focus on quicker, equally lucrative electric vehicle assembly so as not to lose money when decreasing worker hours.
How has President Joe Biden responded to the UAW strike?
On Friday, Sept. 22, President Joe Biden announced on X, the social media site formerly called Twitter, that he would be joining UAW strikers at the picket line.
He said, “I’ll go to Michigan to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create. It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs.”
During his visit to Michigan on Tuesday, the president encouraged UAW strikers, according to The Associated Press. He agreed with the necessity of their demand for a 36% pay increase when asked, and said, “You deserve the significant raise you need.”