LIVONIA, Mich. (NewsNation) — The United Auto Workers (UAW) is set to assess potential strike support Thursday as contract talks with Detroit’s ‘Big Three’ automakers continue.
Local unions voted on walking out amid negotiations over a new four-year labor agreement this week.
Members of UAW, which represents nearly 150,000 assembly line workers at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, have expressed confidence in passing work stoppage.
UAW expects national vote results Thursday night or possibly Friday morning.
Dozens of members practiced picketing in the parking lot of Stellantis in Detroit Wednesday afternoon, where NewsNation spoke with UAW President Shawn Fain one-on-one at the event.
“We’re already getting results back from several locals, they’re are 99%, 98%,” Fain said. “The members are fed up, they’re ready for change.”
Fain said his message to automakers is workers need fair compensation amid record auto industry profits.
“Record profits, equal record contracts. They’ve enjoyed a decade of high profits. In the first six months of this year, they’ve recognized $21 billion in profits, and our workers’ wages went backward. There’s no excuse for that.
Workers stress the importance of standing in solidarity as negotiations continue.
“We’re all in this together across the board,” said UAW member Jaron Garza. “We’re not just fighting for us, we’re fighting for all working people. UAW has built the middle class and we’ve gotten away from that.”
Workers demand fair compensation amid record auto industry profits. Other demands include a pay raise exceeding 40% for workers, reinstating cost of living adjustments, the end of tiered wage systems and implementing a 32-hour work week.
“This is our moment,” Fain said. “It’s our generation-defining moment.”
According to the Anderson Economic Group, a strike could result in a substantial economic loss exceeding $5 billion.
Ford, GM and Stellantis have all issued statements regarding the tense negotiations, each assuring their commitment to prioritizing the well-being of UAW workers.
“They’ve made a lot of money since and it hasn’t been reciprocated. All we’re asking for is loyalty from the company that we’ve given them,” Garza said.
President Joe Biden has also entered the discussion, putting pressure on the automakers by expressing his expectation that all parties collaborate to establish an equitable agreement.
The union requires at least two-thirds of the voting members to authorize the strike. If it passes, the work stoppage would go into effect when the current contract expires at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 14.