Strike started at ‘Big Three’ of the American car industry 05:41 in Abroad, Economy The union is threatening more strikes if the car companies do not come forward further. The union is demanding a pay increase of 36 percent.

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Members meeting of the United Automobile Workers last month in Michigan
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In the US, about 13,000 employees at three car factories are quitting their jobs to demand higher wages and better working conditions. United Auto Workers (UAW) union leader Shawn Fain made the announcement shortly before the expiration of the existing labor contracts.

The UAW represents nearly 150,000 auto industry workers, so the strike is limited for now. The union is threatening more strikes if the car companies do not agree. The union demands, among other things, a pay increase of at least 36 percent spread over four years. Other demands include automatic price compensation and a four-day work week.

According to union leader Fain, it is the first time in the union’s 88-year history that employees are simultaneously striking at the ‘Big Three’. He is referring to Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis (the parent company of Chrysler), the largest players in the American car industry.

Strikes at three largest US car factories

The car companies say the UAW has not responded to their latest proposals. Ford and GM have offered a 20 percent wage increase, the last known offer from Stellantis was 17.5 percent. The companies call the union demands unreasonable. Manufacturers fear higher costs because they already have to spend billions on the transition to electric cars.

Union leader Fain acknowledges that the wage demand is very high, but he states that manufacturers have enough money to better reward their employees. According to him, only 4 to 5 percent of the price of a car consists of labor costs. “They can double our wages and make cars no more expensive, and still make millions of dollars in profit,” he told the AP. “We are not the problem, the greed of the manufacturers is the problem.”

The car factories affected by the strike are important for producing some of the companies’ most profitable vehicles. They are located in the states of Michigan, Missouri and Ohio, part of the Midwest, which has traditionally been the center of the American automotive industry.

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