With their strike deadline set for Thursday, September 14 at 11:59 p.m., the UAW is considering various strategies, including a strike of all members, to get management of the Detroit Three (Stellantis, General Motors, and Ford) to reach an agreement that the UAW believes would allow their members to have a fairer wage and to more equitably share in the fruits of their labor.
But can the UAW withstand a strike by all of the workers or does the threat of a strike ring hollow?
A strike of all members could be risky since the UAW’s strike pay fund is very limited. Currently, there is only enough money in the strike fund to pay workers from all of the plants a mere $500 each week for a couple of months.
According to Associated Press reporting, one of the strategies under consideration by the UAW is to begin with a strike involving only plants that manufacture the components for vehicles that are the most popular and in the highest demand by consumers. This approach would have two primary benefits.
First, the plants that manufacture parts tend to have fewer workers than the plants that assemble vehicles. As a result, because there would be fewer workers on strike if only plants that produce parts go on strike, less of the limited UAW funds earmarked for strike pay is depleted and there will be sufficient funds for a lengthy strike.
Second, this strategy causes a domino effect. With only the workers who make components on strike, the assembly plants will run out of parts to build vehicles that are in high demand by consumers, and the workers building those popular vehicles will be laid off. The laid off workers will receive unemployment benefits instead of strike pay which will save the UAW money from their strike pay find. As a result, the UAW will be able to endure a strike for a longer period of time until an agreement is reached that gives the workers fair pay and benefits.
What strategy will the UAW use? Will all factories go on strike or only a few? UAW President, Shawn Fain, is expected to reveal his strategy and the next steps he plans to take in a Facebook Live appearance Wednesday afternoon, September 13.