The United Auto Workers strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers is a month in, and UAW President Shawn Fain’s strategy has been different than in previous strikes. Wayne State Professor of Management and labor expert Marick Masters joined guest MichMash host Jake Neher from the Automotive News to break down union leaders’ successes and failures.
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In this episode:
- Shawn’s Fain unique strategy
- UAW’s strike being reflecting the labor union having a moment
- Whether the UAW’s demand might jeopardize the automakers’ future.
According to Masters, Fain has differed from the methods of his predecessors.
“He changed the process so it’s no longer focused on a single company,” Masters said. “He has instead engaged in simultaneously bargaining with all three.”
The strategy reserves the option to strike in a variety of unexpected ways. So far Fain’s been able to get some concessions from the automakers. Masters also said that Fain has been proactive with how he captures the story of the strike and informs the public to build support, making the strike bigger than UAW and more about the working class in general.
The UAW’s surprise walkout at the Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant last week was the latest in a series of strike expansions that aim to “rachet up” the economic consequences of the strike, Masters said.
“It forebodes something about what he might be doing in the future consistent with the strategy of mixing things up,” he said. “He didn’t rely upon the traditional wait until Friday to announce another phase of the strike…and threw [Ford] off balance in that regard.”
Masters says that Fain’s strategy shows that he may have a few more maneuvers he plans to employ to further the strike.
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