Posts tagged strike fund
Commentary: Ford-UAW deal: Declare victory and go home
October 26, 2023 // The Ford Motor Company and the UAW struck a deal Tuesday for a 25 percent increase in the union members pay. It was only marginally higher than the 23 percent offer that had been on the table for weeks and far short of the 40 percent than the union had originally wanted. That’s not to say that 25 percent isn’t a significant increase for those workers but they likely could have had it a weeks ago. The union held out for much more until it was apparent that management wasn’t going to be that generous. Still, it was a win for new UAW President Shawn Fain, who got what he wanted. He got lots of media coverage of him leading a strike where he got to talk tough and make bold promises. But he did this without actually straining the union’s strike fund too much, because most workers weren’t striking.
UAW members aren’t all assembling cars. More and more are unionized grad students
October 23, 2023 // These days, the "A" in UAW might as well include academia, as roughly 100,000 of the union's 383,000 members work in higher education. They include graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants, clerical and technical workers, adjunct professors and postdocs.
Union-backed bills pose biggest challenges to cities
October 16, 2023 // The reasons: a tight labor market with unemployment under 4% and pro-union policies by the Biden administration. But one reason not cited is the difficulty of fighting union power in one-party, Democratic states such as California, New York and Illinois. Indeed, the SEIU’s clout was shown this month when Newsom appointed Laphonza Butler to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the late Dianne Feinstein. Most recently the head of Emily’s List, Butler was before that president of SEIU California, representing 700,000 California workers. Through its contributions, the SEIU has a stranglehold on hundreds of local officials in the state. When Republican clout is moribund – and the party seemingly can’t get its act together, as most glaringly in California – there’s no countervailing power to union demands. Urban residents are most dependent on public services and the tourism and entertainment industries represented by these newly energized unions. Strikes always are disruptive and can paralyze an economy, damaging city finances and driving away businesses. The rusted-out remnant of Detroit, until the 1960s dubbed the Paris of the West, is a cautionary example. But one California economic sector will benefit for sure: moving companies. Better pack up before they’re unionized, too.
Donations needed for striking UAW workers as contract talks remain active
October 13, 2023 // Members of UAW Local 900, which was among the first to go on strike, have received their first check from the union's strike fund. But there's only so much $500 a week can cover. Besides the food boxes donated by United Way, items at the makeshift pantry inside Local 900's hall help them get by until the next check. "We're constantly replenishing. So what you see on the table can disappear by the end of the day or the middle of the day," said Ebony Kennedy, the community service chair for UAW Local 900. They need diapers, wipes, pull-ups of all sizes, toiletries, paper towels, toilet tissue, body wash, personal hygiene products, and cough medicine.
UAW strike grows by 4,000; now affects 29,000 workers
October 11, 2023 // The 4,000 workers at Mack Trucks will join the 25,000 UAW members who’ve joined the strike since Sept. 15. The “stand up strike,” as Fain has called it, has employed selective strikes, wherein members are called to “stand up” to strike, rather than taking all 150,000 UAW members out of work simultaneously. The strike started at three facilities but has now expanded nationwide. UAW members who go on strike earn $500 per week in strike pay, paid out by the union.
As Predicted, UAW Strike Remains Limited, Spares Automakers From Full Walkout
October 11, 2023 // As CEI noted when the strike began, “The claim that this ‘stand up’ approach creates the maximum pressure is bogus. History clearly shows that if a union wants a serious confrontation with the manufacturers, it has all of its members on the picket lines. … The fact that [UAW President Shawn] Fain hasn’t ordered that suggests he doesn’t actually want that or doesn’t think the union could sustain it.” After two weeks, Fain tacitly conceded there had been no progress in the talks, so he upped the pressure to 25,000 workers on the picket lines, or about one-sixth of the UAW’s members. To be clear, this is causing problems for manufacturers. Fain has targeted the plants where work stoppages can cause the most economic damage. Losing $200 million is still real money even for a corporation like GM. But the UAW’s call for wage increases of up to 36 percent, well beyond the 20 percent the auto makers have offered, is something the manufacturer hasn’t budged on yet. And it isn’t likely to so long as only one-sixth of the UAW members are striking.
UAW’s Fain says new strike strategy has produced no ‘meaningful progress’
October 4, 2023 // Why not a full strike? That is what unions traditionally do, after all. The reality is that UAW fears it doesn’t have a deep enough strike fund for a prolonged confrontation. The union is instead making a virtue of necessity by striking in a limited manner and presenting that as a “new strategy.” The UAW strikes have thus far been targeting plants that make parts for dealership. Most car dealerships are independent business that make most of their revenue from servicing existing cars rather than selling new ones. A shortage of parts, UAW hopes, will cause dealerships to pressure the manufacturers to make concessions. The mood was mixed among the UAW members watching the livestream. “It’s not working,” commented Jesse Gonzales. “If it were, we would not have to continue striking more plants.”
How state unemployment benefits impact the UAW strike
September 27, 2023 // "We were very confused if we were going to get (strike pay) or not," Halle Heinz, one of the Ford employees laid off, told WXYZ-TV in Detroit. "They were trying to hold as much strike pay as they could in order to make everything survive." Under Michigan law, UAW workers generally won't qualify for unemployment if they get laid off because of a labor dispute involving other workers at the same worksite, Brett Miller, an attorney specializing in labor law for Butzel in Detroit, tells Axios. UAW's Ohio and Indiana director is also navigating murky waters when it comes to unemployment. "It's clear as mud," UAW Region 2B director David Green told Crain's Cleveland Business. "I don't want to say all our members are going to get unemployment, because that's not going to happen." Disputes over unemployment benefits could end up in court, he said.
Biden’s Union Problems Are a Gift to Trump
September 8, 2023 // Former President Donald Trump, who won Michigan by just under 11,000 votes in one of the biggest political upsets of the 2016 election, weighed in on the possibility of a strike over the Labor Day weekend, referring to Fain as a "respected" union head and vowing to stop the "madness" of electric vehicles. A labor action from UAW is likely to open up an opportunity for Trump to seize one of Michigan's most critical counties. Recent polls show that Biden is in a statistical dead heat against Trump. The Democrat is leading by just one percentage point, according to RealClearPolitics' polling averages. "Fain is in no hurry to endorse President Biden when a significant number of UAW members supported former President Trump in previous elections," Arthur Wheaton, the director of Labor Studies at Cornell University, told Newsweek. "Why risk fractures in union solidarity during a crucial bargaining period. No upside to endorsing now and plenty of potential downside in an extremely difficult bargaining time at the Detroit Three." Political consultant Jay Towsend said that while a UAW strike would be unlikely to damage Biden's image as a union supporter, the economic impact and turmoil that a labor action could cause would give his re-election campaign "a headache it does not need, especially in rust-belt states he must win."
UAW strike fund provides backstop to workers in event of automaker strike
August 28, 2023 // The fund totals more than $825 million, meaning the union could strike all three automakers for 12 weeks before its backstop is exhausted, according to Evercore ISI analysts. The strike fund is available to workers beginning after the eighth day of a strike to active members in good standing with the union. Yes, but: Strike pay equals only about 25% to 60% of UAW workers' typical compensation.