The United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, aka United Automobile Workers (UAW) announced on Tuesday that the Union members have voted for authorization of a strike against the “Detroit Big 3,” automakers Ford, General Motors (GM), and Fiat Chrysler (FCA).
The vote is held as part of the UAW constitution to authorize a strike. A strike does not necessarily follow the authorization but empowers the UAW International President and International Executive Board to call for a strike.
The strike authorization is viewed as a step to give the negotiators more clout during each year’s negotiations for labor contracts with the automakers. Gary Jones, UAW President, commented:
No one goes into collective bargaining taking a strike lightly. But it is a key tool in the tool belt as our bargaining team sits across from the company. Ultimately, the company holds that destiny in their hands as they bargain. Clearly the UAW stood up for them in a very dark time, now that they are profitable it is time for them to stand up for all of us.
About 96 perent of Union members at each of the Detroit Big 3, voted to authorize the strike.
The same day as the vote, UAW President Gary Jones announced that GM was selected as the target company for the negotiations. The contracts expire at midnight on September 14. The bargaining with GM will set the tone for the other negotiations.
The negotiations are set to occur amid a corruption probe into the UAW’s leadership which included an FBI raid of the home of President Gary Jones last week and a former UAW official pleading guilty to money laundering and conspiracy charges on Wednesday.