MichMash: UAW, Detroit automakers expected to have tough negotiations in next contract talks

Former “MichMash” co-host Jake Neher joins Cheyna Roth to discuss the UAW’s upcoming contract negotiations with Detroit’s automakers this fall.

The United Auto Workers is preparing for what is expected to be very contentious negotiations with the Detroit automakers this fall.

Jake Neher, former MichMash co-host and coordinating producer for Automotive News, takes the driver’s seat to explain the UAW’s agenda and the general influence of unions in America.

In this episode:

  • How the change up of leadership from the UAW and the Big 3 points to there possibly being a strike
  • The growing influence of unions across the county
  • The status of the auto supply chain and how that effects the consumer

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The new agreement between the UAW and Detroit’s Big 3 — Ford, GM and Stellantis — will have a major impact on suppliers, investors and consumers. Neher explains that even though the negotiations are in the fall, they are beginning to cause stirs now.

“The union has all new leadership. It was the first time the union decided that it would have a direct election from the members instead of having delegates decide who the new leadership would be,” Neher says. “And all of the establishment candidates… were ousted by new leadership. In general there are a lot of new leaders who are seeking change.”

New UAW president Shawn Fain promises to be more aggressive when it comes to labor negotiations with automakers.

The leadership with Detroit’s iconic car brands has changed as well. Mary Barra is the only CEO who is still in her position since the last round of negotiations. Neher anticipates at least one major strike this year.

UAW isn’t the only union stirring the pot, as a lot of unions in other sectors are having heated negotiations. Neher observes that while corporations are making a lot of money, workers are not feeling the benefit of those gains.

“The labor movement is having a moment right now — so many new places are organizing,” says Neher. “The big ones, Amazon warehouses, Starbucks… I think that people that are in unions see that they have some leverage right now. There is a lot of energy in what they are doing… so I think they see they have more power and head to the table. Also staffing is still tough in a lot of places so that is another piece of leverage.”

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.