Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Record UAW Contracts = Record UAW Layoffs

In 2023, the UAW went on strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers – and brought home what it called a “record contract.” 

Well the contract broke records alright, it seems to have caused a record number of layoffs. 

Since the end of the strike in November 2023, over 20,000 UAW members at Big Three facilities have experienced layoffs. 

Mapped out, the numbers are staggering. Thousands of employees missed paychecks or were forced to find new jobs across five states as automakers cut shifts and pared back production. A 25 percent pay raise sounds good in theory, but if Ford cuts a third of its 150 Lighting shifts at the Rouge to cover that expense, then the auto workers affected may be worse off than they were before the new contract. 

Although no automaker has escaped unscathed, the blow has fallen hardest on UAW members at Stellantis. Since the UAW and Stellantis came to the new contract agreement, over 1,300 UAW members at the company have permanently lost their jobs, alongside thousands more temporarily laid off as the company tries to control rising labor costs. 

Here’s what an expert on the automotive industry had to say about the situation: 

“Marick Masters, a professor emeritus of business at Wayne State University and a UAW expert, said it’s not surprising that Stellantis has sought to cut costs including by trimming its workforce, to make up for the higher labor costs of the new UAW contract. ‘Anybody that didn’t anticipate this coming was being a little bit naive about the realities of business,’ Masters said.”

Going forward, perhaps Shawn Fain should spend less time on fawning press interviews, and more time actually representing the UAW’s current members. About 20,000 of them sound like they could use it. 

Categories: UAW