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Libs & Conservatives agree: Striking auto workers have a raw deal

By Jake Beardslee · October 1, 2023

In brief…

  • UAW workers expanded their strike from factories to 38 parts warehouses in their drive for better pay and benefits.
  • Big 3 CEOs earn an eye-popping 365 times more than some assembly-line workers.
  • Analysts worry that higher wages will lead to higher prices for cars and auto parts.
  • The strike has drawn sympathy from both liberal and conservative voters.
Autoworkers have broadened their strike to warehouses in hopes of winning higher wages, while drawing support from Democrats and Republicans.  David Rodriguez Munoz/Wikimedia

Last week, autoworkers from the United Auto Workers union expanded their ongoing strike against General Motors and Stellantis to include 38 auto-parts warehouses across the country.

The walkouts at the warehouses, which ship repair parts to dealerships, aim to increase pressure on automakers as the union pushes for higher wages and improved benefits.

The striking warehouse workers are stuck on a lower-wage tier, earning between $17 to $25 per hour - less than the $18 to $32 per hour earned by veteran assembly-line workers at GM and Stellantis plants.

While the companies have offered to raise wages for warehouse workers, the UAW is also demanding improved job security and cost-of-living guarantees for its members.

Election experts say the high-profile strike may also have important political ramifications. Residents of Bucks County, Pennsylvania - a closely observed swing district - expressed support for the striking auto workers, even if it means parts shortages and delays in getting their vehicles serviced.

Self-described liberals and moderates said they believe the wage gap between auto executives and workers has grown too large in recent decades. Many conservative voters have also said they sympathize with the workers.

According to recent reports, Big 3 CEOs earn an eye-popping 365 times more than some assembly-line workers.

While the strike is likely to impact auto and auto-parts prices, it could also have implications for next year’s presidential election as voters of all political stripes voice support for unionized auto workers while questioning the practicality of federal policies electric-vehicle mandates.