As the United Auto Workers strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers closes out its first month, there is no clear end in sight, with union leaders demanding concessions that some auto company officials have said they aren’t able to provide.
The strike has been unique not only in its scope — affecting roughly 34,000 workers at 44 auto facilities nationwide — but also its strategy. Instead of all workers striking all plants at the same time, the UAW has chosen to only have union members strike at specific job sites while negotiations continue.
But is that strategy working? And how long will the strike continue? Detroit Free Press writer Phoebe Wall Howard and Wayne State University Finance Chair and labor expert Marick Masters joined Detroit Today this morning to discuss the major sticking points during negotiations.
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Phoebe Wall Howard is an automotive reporter for the Detroit Free Press. She says each concession the UAW receives is important for leverage against the automakers while negotiations continue.
“Even the gains are still viewed [by the UAW] as chess pieces,” says Howard.
Marick Masters is the chair of the Department of Finance at Wayne State University and an expert on organized labor. He says rising cost of living expenses, unpredictable levels of inflation, and record profits led to the current standoff.
“What we are really facing here is a long standing age old debate about who is entitled to the benefits of wealth and whether it’s labor or capital,” says Masters.
Listen to Detroit Today with host Stephen Henderson weekdays from 9-10 a.m. ET on 101.9 WDET and streaming on-demand.