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UAW members holding out ‘as long as it takes’ as high-stakes negotiations reach day 3: We are all ‘suffering’

UAW members holding out ‘as long as it takes’ as high-stakes negotiations reach day 3: We are all ‘suffering’
  • PublishedSeptember 17, 2023

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Negotiations in the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) first-ever standoff with the “Big 3” automakers – Ford, GM and Stellantis – have now reached the third day, leaving workers “hoping and praying” a resolution will come soon.

“[We’re willing to strike] as long as it takes,” Jennifer Devers, a UAW member, told FOX News on Sunday.

“My whole life I’ve always wanted to be part of the Big 3 and, now that I’m finally there and been there for four years, it’s fair to say that I can go to a fast food restaurant and make more an hour than what I’m making now.”

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UAW strike against Big 3

United Auto Workers members strike at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant on September 15, 2023, in Wayne, Michigan. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Devers is employed at the Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan, one of the plants involved in the strike, and feels the effects of the strike firsthand. She said the national UAW is already helping, but she hopes the fight for pay increases gets more national support soon.

“I’m just praying and hoping that we do get together, we get this done, and we can all go back to what we are supposed to be doing, which is making wonderful Broncos and Rangers for all of our people,” she said.

Though the two parties have come to the table, it appears they are still seated far apart after failing to reach a new labor deal last Thursday.

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Shawn Fain

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain is taking a stand against the “Big Three” U.S. automakers. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The main point of contention remains higher pay, with the union pushing for a more than 40% pay raise for workers over the next four years. The request has since been lowered to 36%.

The union is also pushing for making all temporary workers at the automakers permanent, cost-of-living adjustments, increases in pension benefits for current retirees, a 32-hour work week with 40-hour pay and restoring pensions for new hires, among other benefits.

Typically, workers pick one of the “Big 3” companies to strike against and eventually reach an agreement, Tom Krishner, an auto writer for the Associated Press, said of the debacle. 

“That becomes the pattern for the other two,” he said.

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Meanwhile, experts warn the strike could prove costly for the U.S. economy, costing billions of dollars, as approximately 13,000 workers stopped making vehicles on Friday.

Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, told the Associated Press the debacle will prove especially challenging for those looking to purchase a Jeep, a GM pickup truck or a Ford Bronco since the vehicles are produced at the three plants targeted by union workers.

President Biden has made his stance clear in the past, calling himself a pro-union president. Former President Donald Trump, weighing in on the strike, cautioned that workers should make ending EV mandates a top priority in negotiations.

Devers said EVs have not been a part of the discussion, however, and was reluctant to politicize the issue.

“It’s all of us that are hurting. It’s all of us that are doing the work. It’s all of us that are suffering. There’s not just one of us. It’s all of us,” she said.

FOX News Digital reached out to Ford Motor Company for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.

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FOX News’ Sarah Rumpf-Whitten contributed to this report.

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