In a new video released by the UAW, Local 933 members at Allison Transmission in Indianapolis, Indiana, speak out about why they are ready to strike for as long as it takes to win an equitable contract. The group of 1,500 workers authorized a strike in October and are prepared to walk off the job at any moment.

The video, “Stand Up at Allison Transmission,” can be accessed here, and the media is invited to use the footage.

“We’ve given them record profits. We’ve done everything they’ve asked us to do,” said Steve Vaught, Allison Transmission worker and UAW member. “We have to stand up. I think everybody would be more than happy to walk out the door and say, hey, we deserve better.”

Allison Transmission, which manufactures commercial duty automatic transmissions and hybrid propulsion systems, has amassed more than $6 billion dollars in profits in the last decade, and over half a billion dollars in the first three quarters of 2023. CEO David Graziosi’s pay has increased by 600% in just the last two years alone. Yet, the company continues to lowball workers in contract negotiations, showing little regard for the hard work and sacrifices made by its workforce.

“They don’t respect us, and they don’t care about meeting us halfway,” Andy Davis said.

The union’s last contract with the company expired on November 14, 2023. Local 933 members have been working in good faith on a contract extension since then in hopes of reaching a deal. However, on December 1st, workers rejected a tentative agreement by over 96% because it failed to address their core demands.

“The company’s proposal was a slap in the face,” said Jewel Van Dalsen. “Workers feel like, if this is what we need to do to show the company we’re worth a little more than they think we are, I’m ready, and I believe my coworkers are ready.”

“People want change,” Craig Myers said. “Does anybody want to strike? No, we don’t want to strike. What we want is a reasonable, fair contract. But to get to that better contract, are we willing to go out on strike and take a stance? Yeah.”

Today, 33 U.S. Senators are calling on 13 non-union auto companies to refrain from union-busting as over 150,000 autoworkers have launched campaigns to organize with the UAW. In a letter sent to the CEOs of the automakers, the Senators, led by Senators Peters, Stabenow, Padilla, Butler, and Brown stressed the importance of respecting workers’ right to form a union, and encouraged the companies to commit to neutrality in any organizing effort.

“Your commitment to neutrality would ensure that management does not pressure workers into voting against unionization or delaying the election process,” the Senators’ letter states. “We believe a neutrality agreement is the bare minimum standard manufacturers should meet in respecting workers’ rights, especially as companies receive and benefit from federal funds related to the electric vehicle transition.”

The letter also addresses reports of illegal actions taken by a number of the companies. In recent weeks, the UAW has filed unfair labor practice charges at the National Labor Relations Board against Honda, Hyundai, and Volkswagen for engaging in various illegal union-busting tactics in an attempt to intimidate and dissuade workers from voting to unionize.

“These retaliatory actions are hostile to workers’ rights and must not be repeated if further organizing efforts are made by these companies’ workers,” the letter continues. “We therefore urge you all to commit to implementation of a neutrality agreement at your manufacturing plants.”

“Every autoworker in this country deserves their fair share of the auto industry’s record profits, whether at the Big Three or the Non-Union Thirteen,” UAW President Shawn Fain said. “We applaud these U.S. Senators for standing with workers who are standing up for economic justice on the job. It’s time for the auto companies to stop breaking the law and take their boot off the neck of the American autoworker, whether they’re at Volkswagen, Toyota, Tesla, or any other corporation doing business in this country.”

The campaign comes on the heels of the UAW winning record contracts at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis in October 2023, after the six-week Stand Up Strike that captivated the labor movement and led non-union automakers to raise wages in anticipation of fending off potential organizing at their facilities.

More information on the organizing drive can be found at

On December 22, 2023, forty-nine workers at EmPower-Solar in Bethpage, NY, voted overwhelmingly to join UAW Local 259. The organizing victory was achieved despite the company hiring lawyers and lobbyists in attempt to thwart workers’ efforts to unionize.

Instead of respecting its workers’ decision, EmPower continues to union-bust. On December 29, the company unilaterally laid off forty percent of its workforce without even notifying the union of its decision.

In response to the company’s despicable union-busting actions, Local 259 is holding a rally on Saturday, January 6, at 9 am ET at EmPower’s Headquarters in Bethpage, NY.

“Working in renewables could be a great job, but the industry needs a healthier balance of power between management and labor to make growth sustainable,” EmPower-Solar worker Daniel Lozano and Local 259 Vice President Michael DiGiuseppe wrote in an op-ed last month. “These are the jobs of the future. They ought to pay a living wage, be safe, and be unionized.”

If you are in the New York area this Saturday, join Local 259 and send a message to EmPower that union-busting is unacceptable.

WHO: UAW Local 259, Region 9A

WHAT: Rally Against Union-Busting and Corporate Greed

WHEN: Saturday, January 6, 2024 – 9 am ET

WHERE: EmPower-Solar HQ 999 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage, NY 11714

In what looks to be the first major potential strike of 2024, 1,500 UAW members of Local 933 in Indianapolis are making preparations to walk out at Allison Transmission if the company continues to lowball workers in contract negotiations.  
Allison Transmission, which manufactures commercial duty automatic transmissions and hybrid propulsion systems, amassed over half a billion dollars in profit through the first three quarters of 2023. Company CEO David Graziosi has raked in nearly $18 million in the last two years alone. The union contract expired on November 14th, and on December 1st, workers resoundingly rejected a tentative agreement by 96% as the company refused to address core demands.  
In a new video, Allison Transmission workers speak out about what they’re fighting for, and against management’s unwillingness to come to a deal that honors the sacrifices and value UAW members have made at Allison. 
“We gave up a lot during the recession, and in those years there really hasn’t been a reciprocation of the sacrifices we made during that time,” said Pattie Evans. “Just like when we lost cost of living, we don’t have any assurance that going forward we’ll be able to keep up with inflation and things like that.”  
“I’ve had some medical issues,” Martha Brumett said, explaining how the taxing work schedule at Allison leads to more injuries on the job. “You have a lot of wear and tear on your body. On your wrists, on your back. Your feet are constantly tired. It takes a toll on you.” 
“I work seven days a week. Anywhere from nine, ten-hour workdays,” said Lisa Perry. “I have gotten used to working those many hours so that I can afford and take care of my bills.” 
“I would love for it to go back to where it was, you know, good benefits and good pay,” Allison retiree Donald Reed said. “You got workers out there working a lot more hours than we worked, with a lot less pay. It should be better now than it was when I was working there. It’s not. That’s a shame.” 

Negotiations are taking place during a watershed moment for the labor movement in the United States, as hundreds of thousands of workers have won record collective bargaining agreements in the last year, and public approval of labor unions remains at a near all-time high.  

Postdocs who work at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York voted to ratify their first-ever collective bargaining agreement by 98%, the SPOC-UAW Bargaining Committee announced on Friday, December 22.

390 members voted yes on the contract, with eight members voting no.

“Thank you to everyone who participated in the vote,” the Bargaining Committee posted on the SPOC-UAW website Friday evening. “After years of organizing and 15 months of bargaining, this vote is a strong mandate for researchers to continue improving our working conditions and the research conditions at Sinai.”

Workers were able to secure substantial gains in the new contract after a 12-day strike, including the highest minimum salaries for postdocs in the country, protections against harassment and bullying, guaranteed housing for three years, and six weeks of maternity leave.

“We will soon announce a meeting to start formally establishing our union here at Mount Sinai, including next steps like enforcing our contract improvements, discussing and deciding on Local Union affiliation, electing officers, and planning ongoing organizing efforts,” the Bargaining Committee wrote on the unit’s website.

The Bargaining Committee reached a tentative agreement with the school on Monday, December 18.

In June of 2022, nearly 90% of workers voted to choose Sinai Postdoctoral Organizing Committee-United Auto Workers (SPOC-UAW) as their union and bargaining representative.

Postdocs perform a wide range of critical research, from developing new therapies to fight disease to advancing new technologies that will shape the future of research, and much more.

When most of us think about organizing, we often think of going into non-union shops and organizing workers to join the UAW. While that is true, it can also mean organizing our existing union members, and getting them active in our collective fight. For Big Three workers and members of Local 230 going into bargaining this year, we knew that we needed a significant wage increase, a cost-of-living allowance (COLA), the end to an abusive tiered wage system, and the end of the abusive system that kept supplemental employees (temporary workers) working on a temporary status with no real rights and no hire date in sight.

Our contract campaign was huge in the months and weeks leading up to the strike. At the national level, UAW President Shawn Fain & his team were great at keeping members up to date through Facebook Live and news outlets. At the local level, we were hard at work building unity and coordination. Some of the ways we showed solidarity included what we called a Red-Out – wearing only red shirts in solidarity. Another way was organizing members to not work any voluntary overtime in the days leading up to Local 230 being called on to walk off the job. Both of these methods showed management that we were no longer divided and that we weren’t going down without a fight.

On September 15 at 12:00 am, the Big Three walked off the job. The following week, all the PDCs across Stellantis and GM were called to walk off their jobs, and thus, Local 230 was out on strike, along with Locals 6645, 2162, and 492. Our Local 230 President Jesse Ramirez walked out side by side with approximately 55 first shift Local 230 members. Our message was clear: “No deals, No wheels.”

In the following weeks, we organized rallies on the picket lines. These rallies were key for keeping members’ morale up, building a strong sense of camaraderie, and relieving the stress of the strike. In addition to social media and local news coverage, the rallies were extremely sharp tools used to gain public support and to keep our fight and demands as pervasive as possible. Many supporters came out and walked the line, including Teamsters, SAG-AFTRA, Carpenters Union, Machinist Union, as well as State Senators, Assembly Members, and members of the United States Congress.

Our efforts would soon pay off: On October 28th the strike was declared over, and members returned to work the following Monday. The contract was ratified on November 20th, 2023. Workers emerged victorious knowing we, the UAW, had won.

Joel Benefield is a member of UAW Local 230 in Ontario, CA. The local represents workers at the Stellantis Parts Distribution Center in Los Angeles.

UAW President Shawn Fain will speak at the 21st Detroit Martin Luther King Day Rally and March on January 15, 2024, at 12 pm ET.

Location: St. Matthew’s-St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, 8850 Woodard Avenue at Holbrook

Date & Time: Mon. Jan. 15, 2024, 12pm-3:00pm ET

Theme: “For Jobs, Peace, and Justice, while protecting Water, Climate, and Communities.

The Detroit MLK Day Committee has been organizing this event on the federal holiday commemorating the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the past twenty years. This year’s event comes amid a heightening struggle for labor rights and against imperialist war across the United States and the world.

The rally and march will feature speakers and artists from the Detroit area highlighting the wealth of community organizers and cultural workers in southeastern Michigan. A broad coalition of these social forces is very much needed in the coming year to meet the challenging facing the people of the city, the country, and the globe. 

The current period has been characterized by widespread strikes in various sectors of the economy including unions representing autoworkers, heath care practitioner, writers, actors, entertainment workers, educators, and service employees. During the last few months, Detroit has been labelled “Strike City” because of the work stoppages involving tens of thousands of workers. Being honored is the increasing militant posture of working people, a tradition in which the city was built upon.

Labor unions are encouraged to participate in this event along with their rank-and-file members to symbolize the necessity of organizing and mobilizing the majority of people in order to achieve genuine democracy and economic rights.

In the latest installment of From the Archives, Gavin Strassel, UAW Archivist at the Walter P. Reuther Library, unboxes a toy train set made by UAW workers in Mount Clemons, Michigan.

“The UAW Express was built by Lionel, whose employees in Michigan were represented by the UAW,” Strassel explains in the video. “UAW members at Lionel factories at their peak were making 250,000 train sets a year. If you lined those train sets up, front to back, they would nearly stretch across the entire state of Michigan.”

Various iterations of the Lionel brand have been producing toy trains since 1900.

Postdoctoral Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York reached a tentative agreement with the administration on Monday, December 18.

“We are very proud to have won many substantive and important improvements in every major area we set as a priority,” the Sinai Postdoctoral Organizing Committee (SPOC-UAW) Bargaining Commitee wrote on the unit’s website after the agreement was reached. “These gains are the direct result of tireless organizing, nearly 16 months of bargaining, and our powerful historic strike. Together, we fought, and we won.”

The Bargaining Committee will conduct a straw poll to gain feedback from members before deciding whether workers should continue or pause the strike while voting on the tentative agreement takes place.

Workers at the institution walked out on an unfair labor practice strike on December 6, after attempts to reach a deal with Mount Sinai administrators were unsuccessful.

“We love our research, but Sinai is leaving us no choice,” said Andrea Joseph, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, when the strike began. “Our priority has always been ensuring that science at Mount Sinai is sustainable and inclusive, and that means fair pay and housing and parental benefits that allow all of us to take care of our families and stay in the careers we love in New York City.”

In June of 2022, nearly 90% of workers voted to choose Sinai Postdoctoral Organizing Committee-United Auto Workers (SPOC-UAW) as their union and bargaining representative.

Postdocs perform a wide range of critical research, from developing new therapies to fight disease to advancing new technologies that will shape the future of research, and much more.

The COP28 climate summit recognized we are at “the beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era and need to speed up transition to renewable energy. But union-busting by renewables companies, including the top solar provider on Long Island, threatens to slow it down.

Renewables are big business in the US, stoked by many tens of billions in federal funding. But insiders know that renewables companies are often chaotic, with underpaid, demoralized workers, unsustainably high turnover, and difficult, dangerous working conditions. Solar installers’ median income is just under $45,00040% less than fossil fuel workers. Getting off fossil fuel will require fixing the renewables industry’s labor problems, which requires unions.

Historically, organized labor grew up with fossil fuel industries. At their peak, unions represented 60% of autoworkers. Today it’s about 16%, and 17% across the fossil fuel sector. But only 4% US solar workers and 6% of wind power workers are in unions, reflecting how fiercely renewables companies oppose them.

Big federal subsidies and tax credits compound the problem. Renewables companies are exempt from prevailing wage and other labor requirements under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) if they stay below utility scale (25 megawatts a year). So, the more they cut costs and squeeze workers, the more of the IRA money they can pocket, and the easier it is to spend money on union-busting. That is a perverse incentive effectively diverting public resources to private gain while hurting workers and limiting how fast renewables grow.

EmPower Solar, a Bethpage, NY-based solar company serving Long Island, is a case in point. Rather than pay its workers fairly, it pays lawyers and lobbyists to prevent them from organizing. It hired the Cincinnatti-based lobbying firm National Labor Relations Advocates, which advertises a 90% success rate at helping clients “avoid any threat of a union coming into your business,” and charges hefty fees for the service.

EmPower faces unionization because of its labor practices. It pays installers low base wages plus an untransparent per-panel bonus. Typical monthly take-home pay might be around $2500 plus a $1200 bonus, but the bonus is unreliable. It falls in slower seasons and can be heavily docked for such things as breaking a lamp. There are cases where the bonus suddenly tanked, and installers had to rely on friends and family for rent and food. Some skipped meals and lost weight. Many installers are in debt because the job does not pay enough to live on.

EmPower foremen are paid little better than installers, and often take second jobs like driving for Uber. While they worry about their crews’ safety on rooftops around high voltage equipment, they also worry about making their car payment. When accidents happen, foremen are scapegoated and penalized with demotion and pay cuts, as if it is their supervision at fault rather than unsafe company practices.

Quick to cut pay, EmPower is slow to raise it. It lacks a clear, accountable compensation structure, delays performance reviews, and has high turnover, so workers who keep their jobs often stay stuck at or near entry-level pay. It is also slow to reimburse their outlays for driving to jobsites.

EmPower hires workers for the peak summer season, then fires them, often after a month, and in some cases as little as two weeks. Workers are so stressed and insecure about getting laid off that they are afraid to take lunchbreaks or refuse dangerous jobs they should not accept. When they brought their concerns to management, they got canned talk-points from its union-busting lawyers instead of action.

Finally, after watching Shawn Fain and the UAW stand up and get results for auto workers, EmPower workers reached out to the UAW Local 259, which agreed to represent them. It filed a notice of election with the National Labor Relations Board last month. EmPower workers vote on unionizing this Friday.

Since the filing, the company changed tactics. It said it cared about worker concerns, the layoffs stopped, the compensation problems improved a little. But this only happened once the workers got organized. It seems tactical, designed to peel off support to swing the vote against a union.

Another tactic is EmPower’s false claim the UAW is a “bad fit” because its workers do not build cars. But the truth is, the company would fight any union. The UAW had famous successes at Big Three car companies, but it is a fallacy to pigeonhole unions in the old manufacturing, fossil-fuel based economy. They are more relevant and needed than ever for the high-tech economy and renewables ramp-up. Today’s UAW represents technicians, National Institutes of Health scientists, defense workers, office workers, environmental workers, and more. It can and should do for renewables workers what it did for autoworkers.

Working in renewables could be a great job, but the industry needs a healthier balance of power between management and labor to make growth sustainable. These are the jobs of the future. They ought to pay a living wage, be safe, and be unionized.

In solidarity,

Daniel Lozano, Installer, EmPower Solar

Michael DiGiuseppe, Vice President, Local 259