The union has been warning the three automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — for weeks now of a potential walkout , with an average of 97% of combined members voting to authorize a strike. So far, they are not close to reaching a new contract.
The existing contract between UAW and the three automakers expires at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday.
UAW representative for Ford Michael Mazillo said nearly 150,000 auto workers are prepared to strike if the demands aren’t met.
“We will be walking. We’ve already got our assignments. We report to the hall,” Mazillo said.
Yet, Mazillo and other UAW members hope it doesn’t have come to that. A strike could wreak havoc on the car industry, but workers are sick and tired of the CEO making millions every year when they can’t even afford their own grocieries.
“At this point, after reading everything I’ve seen, I think we are too far apart and we’ll probably be on strike Thursday night,” UAW Local 182 financial secretary Troy Diehl said.
Some of the union’s demands include more than 40% pay raises for workers, reinstating cost of living adjustments, ending tiered wage systems and a 32-hour work week.
“I believe it’s time to fight, for what we believe in and what we need,” Diehl said.
In a statement, Stellantis told NewsNation that it was on a “good path” with UAW on the way to reach a tentatibe agreement.
“We are on a good path and remain committed to reaching a tentative agreement without a work stoppage that would negatively impact our employees and our customers,” the full statement read.
NewsNation also reached out to GM and Ford but has yet to hear back from them.
If a strike does take place, the UAW says it will affect the American people. The strike will likely lead to an increase in car prices and a back-order of products.
If companies are not able to reach an agreement with the UAW before the current contract expires, it could cause more than $5 billion in economic losses.