MichMash: Analyzing the UAW’s strike strategy

Automotive News’ Michael Martinez sits down with Cheyna Roth to break down how the strike’s been going and the possible endgame. 

UAW union members march outside the Stellantis North American Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023.

The summer of strikes ends with UAW joining the fray. The United Autoworkers members have been on strike for a little over a week and there is no immediate end in sight. Automotive News’ Michael Martinez sits down with Cheyna Roth to breakdown how the strike’s been going and the possible endgame. 

The UAW went on strike Sept. 15 after failing to reach an agreement during negotiations with the Big Three automakers before the deadline. The union members are essentially wanting an increase in wages and benefits. They gave up a lot of concessions during the recent recession and they want it all back.  

In this episode:

  • UAW’s strategy as the strike develops and evolves
  • Steven Rattner’s take on the UAW’s list of demands
  • The possible timeline for how long the strike will last

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Martinez spoke to Steve Rattner, who negotiated concessions with the UAW to help keep GM and Chrysler afloat in 2009. Rattner told Martinez that, “The union has to be careful that they don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg, so to speak, by asking for too much.” 

During their conversation, Rattner said the UAW’s asks may make the Big Three less competitive. “There is going to have to be compromises on both sides,” said Martinez. He pointed out that it is reasonable for workers to ask for more but it is also reasonable for the automakers to want to maintain their competitiveness.

With the strike evolving and more and more workers strategically being called to join the strike, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.  

“I hope it ends quickly. I’m not sure that is going to happen because the two sides really seem far apart on a lot of key issues. They honestly can’t even agree on basic definitions of some of their top priorities. I think that at a certain point the unions are going to have to compromise,” said Martinez. “That’s the nature of negotiations in any business.” 

Until that happens this summer protest looks to have a long run in the fall.  

More from MichMash:
• Detroit Today: The economic impact of the UAW strikes
• Detroit Automakers Better Positioned for COVID-19 Recovery Than During Great Recession
• MichMash: UAW, Detroit automakers expected to have tough negotiations in next contract talks

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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.