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13,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked out of their jobs and stopped making vehicles early on Friday morning.

for the first time in the union’s 88-year history, they walked out on all three companies at the same time because all of their four-year contracts expired at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Members of the United Auto Workers union began picketing at a General Motors assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri; a Ford factory in Wayne, Michigan, near Detroit; and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio.

The strike comes during a transition in the automobile industry as workers go from internal combustion engines to electric.

As the United Auto Workers flex their muscles, the rest of us should be slightly worried. If the strike goes on for a long time, then dealers could run short on vehicles and prices could rise. That would impact our economy which is already under strain from elevated inflation thanks to President Joe Biden.

What do the Union Auto Workers want?

In addition to general pay increases, the union is wants restoration of cost-of-living pay raises, an end to varying tiers of wages for factory jobs, a 32-hour week with 40 hours of pay, the restoration of traditional defined-benefit pensions for new hires who now receive only 401(k)-style retirement plans, pension increases for retirees and other items.

In 2007, workers gave up cost-of-living raises, defined benefit pensions for new hires, and wage tiers were created. They did that to help the companies avoid financial trouble ahead of and during the Great Recession.

The United Auto Workers are saying it is time to get the concessions back because the companies are making huge profits and CEOs are making millions.

New president, Shawn Fain, spoke on the wage increases that they want. “They could double our raises and not raise car prices and still make millions of dollars in profits,” Fain said. “We’re not the problem. Corporate greed is the problem.”

They also want to make sure the union represents workers at joint-venture electric vehicle battery factories that the companies are building. This is so workers will have jobs making vehicles of the future.

To hear Tony Katz’s thoughts on the strike, click the link below.