It’s been 14 years since General Motors filed for bankruptcy following the 2008 financial crisis. Now, on the anniversary of this historic event, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union has released a statement ahead of auto worker contract negotiations.
“Fourteen years ago this week, General Motors filed for bankruptcy,” UAW Vice President Mike Booth said in a prepared statement. “It was a scary moment for the auto industry, for our country, and for auto workers everywhere. The federal government, the American taxpayer, and – more than anyone – the auto workers rallied to save the iconic company. Auto workers had their wages slashed, lost their retirement security, gave up their job security, had their cost-of-living adjustments suspended. We gave up so much to save this company. And it wasn’t just UAW members who took the hit – it was our families, our communities, and the whole middle class of this great nation.”
“In the 14 years since that moment, GM has fully bounced back,” Booth continued. “You know who hasn’t bounced back? The US autoworker. We still live with the two-tier wage and benefits system. We still don’t have cost-of-living adjustments in a time of historic inflation. We still suffer from plant closures and an uncertain future, even when business is booming. We’ve waited long enough. It’s time to make whole the auto workers who sacrificed to save this industry. That’s why we’re fighting for a fair contract at GM, Ford, and Stellantis in 2023.”
This charged statement comes as the UAW begins contract negotiations with the Big Three – which includes General Motors, Ford and Stellantis. The labor union points to high profits and executive compensations as justification for higher demands.
It’s worth noting that current UAW contracts are set to expire in September 2023.
As is evidenced in the aforementioned statement from UAW Vice President Booth, negotiations are expected to be rather heated as the labor union fights for increased wages and benefits while the Big Three hope to keep costs down during the transition to an electrified future. Notably, UAW leaders have threatened strikes to maintain leverage against the automakers.