SEIU 1021

Long live Hot Labor Summer
Historic UAW strike set to keep things toasty as seasons shift


Roughly 13,000 auto workers walked off the job Friday in a historic stand-up strike against the Detroit Big Three – General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford. United Auto Workers (UAW) members have come together under the leadership of union president Shawn Fain to present a list of game-changing demands.

One of the union’s central demands is a 40% wage increase. This is because, as UAW states in its list of demands, “Big Three CEOs saw their pay spike 40% on average over the last four years. We know our members are worth the same and more.”

In addition to higher wages, the UAW also seeks more paid time off, a 32-hour workweek, a restoration of their cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), and increased retiree pay and benefits.

This strike is the latest in a series of headline-grabbing strikes and worker movements that continue to reveal the truth powerful corporations and bosses don’t want workers to know: The power lies with us. With a massive win for UPS workers earlier this summer, increased successful unionization of Starbucks and Amazon workers, SAG and WAG holding strong, and powerful labor bills passed by the California legislature like SB525 and AB1228, organized labor is making gains nationwide with no signs of slowing.

Fain understands this strike is bigger than UAW, noting that it’s about “fighting for the entire working class.” Fain’s message speaks to all workers, emphasizing the increasing frustration around growing wage disparities between bosses and workers coupled with skyrocketing cost of living. While workers must fight for livable wages and benefits, often working long hours and living paycheck to paycheck, multi-millionaire and billionaire CEOs continue to extract their ever-increasing wealth from workers’ labor.

“This battle is about the workers standing up for economic and social justice and getting their fair share because they’re fed up with going backward,” Fain said about the strike. 

UAW is not new to fighting for and winning significant victories for its members. With historic wins like the first cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) and the first employer-paid health insurance plan for industrial workers under their belt, the union, which boasts over 400,000 members, intends to throw its weight around as long as it has to win even better working conditions for members and set a larger precedent. 

As of Tuesday, no deal has been reached, but UAW is not backing down. Indeed, more UAW shops are set to walk off the job Friday if major progress is not made at the table before then.

“If the companies don’t respond to the members’ demands, then we have to do what we have to do,” said Fain.

So, while the weather is set to cool off in the coming weeks, organized labor shows no signs of turning down the heat. 

Hot Labor Fall, anyone?