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IndustriALL on the picket line with UAW

13 October, 2023IndustriALL Global Union stood alongside the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) on the picket line, showing solidarity in their ongoing strike against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, collectively known as the Big Three. The IndustriALL affiliate has been on strike since 14 September.

Negotiations continue between the UAW and the Big Three. The UAW president Shawn Fain said the union was prepared to expand its strike to a large General Motors facility in Texas today,  but the expansion was averted when the automaker agreed to add its electric vehicle battery manufacturing plants to the UAW agreement.

“We were about to shut down GM's biggest moneymaker in Arlington, Texas. We know their pain points, we know their moneymakers, and we know the plants they really don’t want to see struck,”

Shawn Fain. 

Since the strike started in mid-September, the union has used Fridays to announce strike updates and add workers to the picket line. This past Friday was the first week no additional UAW members were added to the strike after the automakers made sufficient progress in negotiations.

Shawn Fain shared that GM, Ford, and Stellantis have all made progress in wages, cost of living adjustments, and time to reach full pay status, but added that there is still more work to be done. 

IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie, together with other unions, joined workers on the picket line at Stellantis in Detroit, highlighting the significance of the UAW's fight not only for their own rights but also for the entire American working class. Atle Høie stressed the need to ensure workers receive their fair share of profits, addressing the decades-long disparity in wage increases imposed by the Big Three.

“The Big Three has been holding back on wage increases for 30 years and they have made profits on the backs of the workforce. It is time to settle the score and make sure workers receive their fair share of the profits,” 

said Atle Høie.
Atle Høie conveyed messages of support from IndustriALL president Jörg Hofmann, the IG Metall shop stewards committee, and Volkswagen Kassel/Germany. These messages emphasized the global solidarity among trade unions:

“Regardless of the company, whether in Germany or internationally. We stand together in solidarity as trade unions and do not allow ourselves to be divided! We are proud of this solidarity and cooperation. We as trade unionists know how important jobs, good wages and social security are. Your industrial action for 36 percent more pay, against the lasting loss of purchasing power for the next four years and better social benefits, are justified.”

Jörg Hofmann praised the UAW's efforts in setting standards for future jobs in this industry and called for a socially responsible transformation in the automotive sector. He expressed support for the UAW's fight against corporate greed and for strong trade union representation, underscoring the global importance of their struggle. 

“The UAW is fighting to set standards for future jobs in battery and electric vehicle production.

We congratulate the UAW on the progress with GM on this topic. All of us must make sure that the transformation of the automotive industry is managed in a fair and socially responsible way.

Workers and their unions need to have a say so that new jobs are good jobs, with good wages and benefits. This fight is important for the workers in the US and all over the world. You are sending a clear signal against corporate greed and arbitrariness and for a strong trade union representation that unites workers who stand up for their rights. We stand by your side and wish you success in your bold struggle!”

Said Jörg Hoffman, IndustriALL president. 
On 11 October, in a massive escalation the UAW took 8 700 members at Ford’s iconic and extremely profitable Kentucky Truck plant, to join the strike after Ford refused to make further movement in bargaining.