Summary: More than 10,000 auto workers went on strike late Thursday at three factories in response to a dispute over wages and benefits between the United Auto Workers union and three Detroit automakers. Comments below from Duke University professor Matthew Johnson, who studies labor issues, are available for use in your coverage.
“The UAW strike is the latest and most dramatic example that this is a historic moment for labor unions in the U.S.,” says Matthew Johnson, an assistant professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. “Public support for labor unions is higher than it has been in decades. The hot labor market of the past few years has ushered in rates of union organizing not seen in decades.”
“Recent wins by unions, such as big wage gains secured by UPS Teamsters in August, show that unions are in a stronger position to make demands on employers than at any point in recent memory.”
“Specific to this strike, no doubt the UAW was especially animated by the likely high profits that GM, Ford and Stellantis can expect in the coming years — as exemplified by Ford’s $9.2 billion loan from the U.S. government to expand EV production. The UAW very likely sees an opportunity to demand that workers receive a portion of these profits.”
Matthew Johnson is an assistant professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. His research seeks to understand how different regulations, policies and shifts in the labor market affect working conditions in the United States. Much of his current work focuses on estimating the effects of health and safety regulations on firms and workers, and investigating what factors influence compliance with these regulations.
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