Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Was the UAW Strike Worth It For Workers?

Auto workers have been on strike for over a month. What do they have to show for it? A tentative deal between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and General Motors (GM) that’s been described as a “wash” for union members and almost “identical to GM’s initial proposal from September,” begging the question: Was the strike really worth it?

The consensus from auto workers seems to be “no.”

In fact, several workers took to Facebook to say they’d be voting no on this contract. The overwhelming feedback doesn’t bode well for the union:

The bottom line is that three of four plants are closing, and the factory that GM will maintain (though it will be retooled for electric vehicle production) was already part of the company’s original offer — meaning the union’s month-long strike had little impact on the factory’s future.

Even some of the contract highlights — a ratification bonus for employees of $11,000 — existed prior to the strike. GM offered $8,000 last month; is the extra $3,000 worth the loss of an estimated $6,000 in wages and profit share?

UAW skeptics at the Autoworker Newsletter point out that the union’s “promise” to retain or hire 9,000 workers is not directly stated in the contract. Nor is the rumored $7.7 billion dollars in investments from GM. That’s a drastic departure from the union’s 2015 agreement, which listed concrete job numbers across 24 plants.

When it comes to this latest deal, workers might be struggling to find the so-called “key gains” the UAW claims to have achieved.


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