WASHINGTON, D.C. — A majority of U.S. Democratic Senators are calling on the Big Three automakers to support a just transition to electric vehicles (EVs) in their ongoing contract talks with the UAW.

In a letter released today, the Senators said, “Profits should translate to gains for workers. It is unacceptable that in the midst of extreme financial gains for the companies, executives, and investors, the workers making the electric vehicle batteries that will enable a transition to clean energy vehicles are making poverty-level wages. Before the expiration of UAW’s contract, we urge you to announce that all electric vehicle workers at these joint ventures will be folded into the national UAW contract.”

The UAW contract expires on Sept. 14, and it covers 150,000 autoworkers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.

In a statement, UAW President Shawn Fain said, “These senators agree that now is the time to ensure all autoworkers have the same pay and safety standards that generations of UAW members have fought for and maintained. This senate letter puts a spotlight on EV workers and the need for a just transition in the new green economy because it’s a national concern for all our communities. These negotiations will set the future of the auto industry for decades to come, so we have to get it right. This is when real friends show up. Our members are thankful for the partnership we have with these senators.”

A copy of the letter is below and a full list of the signatories can be found HERE.


Dear Ms. Barra, Mr. Farley, Mr. Tavares, Mr. Eun, Dr. Rhee, and Mr. Chun:

As you engage in contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers (UAW), we urge you to negotiate in good faith to reach a fair outcome by agreeing to fold workers at all joint venture electric vehicle battery facilities into the national UAW contract. UAW workers have made General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Stellantis the successful, innovative, and profitable companies they are today, and workers in the new electric vehicle sector will be critical to your future success. They must share in the benefits of a union contract.

Through the passage of the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the United States Congress made it clear that electric vehicle production, as well as its contributing supply chain, is a national priority industry. We were proud to support the legislation that made major investments in this American clean energy industry possible – we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the disrupting impact of climate change on American families, as well as ensure that the technologies of the future are designed and produced here in the United States by American workers with union contracts. We can and must do both.

Though we can all agree that investments in electric vehicle production are necessary to outpace foreign competition, these investments are not a blank check on worker conditions. Department of Energy loans made possible by the IRA require the companies to create “good-paying jobs with strong labor standards…throughout the life of the loan.”

In other words, high-tech electric vehicle manufacturing jobs should set the standard for wages and benefits for all American manufacturing jobs. These are highly skilled, technical, and strenuous jobs. To that end, it is unacceptable and a national disgrace that the starting wage at any current American joint venture electric vehicle battery facility is $16 an hour. We note that at $33,320 a year, the starting wage at one of these facilities is just above the poverty level for a family of four. American workers, especially those working full time in 21st century state-of-the-art manufacturing, should not make poverty level wages.

The starting wage at these electric vehicle facilities is particularly egregious in the face of the billions of dollars of profits GM, Stellantis, and Ford have made in the past 10 years. Between 2013 and 2022, General Motors and Ford Motor Company made over $100 billion and $75 billion in profit in North America, respectively. Stellantis announced almost $18 billion in profits in 2022 alone. This should, in theory, be great news. It is a testament to our economic resilience that profits are now well above pre-pandemic levels. But despite these impressive figures, General Motors and Stellantis have both announced plans to restart billion-dollar stock buyback programs rather than invest in their workers. In fact, in that same profitable 10-year period, GM, Ford and Stellantis have all closed or “idled” productive plants across the country, including the General Motors Lordstown Facility in Ohio and the Stellantis Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois. These closures should never have happened in the first place.

Profits should translate to gains for workers. It is unacceptable that in the midst of extreme financial gains for the companies, executives, and investors, the workers making the electric vehicle batteries that will enable a transition to clean energy vehicles are making poverty-level wages. Before the expiration of UAW’s contract, we urge you to announce that all electric vehicle workers at these joint ventures will be folded into the national UAW contract.

DETROIT – General Motors reported adjusted earnings of $3.2 billion in the second quarter, up 39% over last year and driven almost entirely by North American profits.

The Wall Street Journal reported that GM’s quarterly revenue was $44.7 billion, 25% more than last year and “a post-bankruptcy record.” GM far exceeded analysts’ expectations and raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast to between $12 billion and $14 billion.

The 150,000 UAW members at GM, Ford and Stellantis began negotiations for a new contract with the three automakers this month. Altogether, the Big Three made a quarter-trillion dollars in North American profits over the last decade. The car companies’ current contract with the UAW expires on Sept. 14.

UAW President Shawn Fain made the following statement today:

“General Motors has made mind boggling profits over the last decade. GM’s recently announced quarterly earnings just set a post-bankruptcy record, but autoworkers and our communities have yet to be made whole for the sacrifices we’ve made since the Great Recession. GM executives have closed 31 plants over the last 20 years and are now enriching themselves through joint venture battery plants that get billions from the federal government in taxpayer subsidies but pay poverty wages. It’s long past time for GM to pony up, end tiers, pay their employees competitive wages that keep up with the cost of living and provide everyone the ability to retire with dignity.”

UAW Vice President Mike Booth, Director of the union’s GM Department, issued this statement:

“The enormous profit General Motors announced today does not happen without the great work of our UAW-GM Members building world-class vehicles, right here in the U.S.A. For a decade now, UAW members have been GM’s profit engine. It’s time for a contract that fully rewards our members for the hard work we do.”

Yesterday, our 2023 UAW-GM National Negotiators, UAW President Shawn Fain and Vice President Mike Booth opened bargaining with top leadership of General Motors. The collective agreement between the UAW and General Motors is set to expire September 14 at 11:59pm. This agreement covers nearly 50,000 proud UAW Members.

Ed Smith, chairperson of the 2023 National Negotiators, said, “There is an excitement among the Members. We are ready to get into the negotiations.”

UAW President Shawn Fain spoke of the need to eliminate the wage progression, the responsibility of corporations to pay workers a living wage, the negative effects of plant closures, and the need for a just transition to electric vehicles. President Fain also informed the company: “September 14, 2023, is not a suggestion, it is a deadline.”

Vice President Mike Booth, Director of the UAW-GM Department, said, “The 2023 National Negotiations has the potential of being a defining moment in the labor movement for years to come. We are looking forward to these negotiations.”

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I’ve been a UAW member for 29 years. I come from a GM family. Like CEO Barra, my roots in this industry run back to the early days when two of my grandparents hired in at GM.

Those jobs were life-changing for my family. Their generation took pride in not only being UAW members, but in working for GM.

We all have our own walk with the Big Three and UAW so what we do here is personal to all of us.

I’ve watched GM’s Delco radio plant in my hometown where my grandparents and many aunts and uncles worked and retired from, go from Delco to Delphi, to GMCH. I’ve watched it shrink from 15,000 employees to now around seventy. I’ve watched it change with technology from transistor radios to making semiconductors.

And now I’m watching that plant suffer the same fate as many others at the hand of corporate greed.

Throughout my 29 years, during the best and worst of times, our members have always delivered.

I appreciate this company doing the right thing recently by placing future truck work at the current truck plants. I consider that a good start. But I want to talk for a minute about the reality of what this company has done over the last 20 years.

From the 2003 agreement forward, this company has closed plants under every contract. Many of these decisions were made under the guise of helping the company be more “competitive.”

Since that time, 31 plants, and then some, have been closed or spun off.

In 2009, the union was unfairly villainized for all that ailed the Big Three.

Our members, both active and retired, made massive sacrifices, such as the suspension of COLA and job security language provisions, just to name a few. All these sacrifices borne by our members were made in an effort to help the Big Three stay afloat and remain “competitive.”

Since the 2019 agreement was ratified, we’ve seen three more plants closed: Baltimore Transmission, Lordstown Assembly, and Warren Transmission.

Many of these workers lives were turned upside down by these decisions. As I traveled the country, I met many of these workers. No matter if it was Spring Hill, Bowling Green, Fort Wayne, Bedford, Wentzville, everywhere I went, there were former Lordstown workers whose lives were uprooted. Some are still waiting for this company to honor their commitment from 2019 to these workers.

Our members worked as essential workers through a pandemic. Some lost their lives to COVID-19, while many at corporate headquarters worked from home and still do three years later.

Many of our members continue to work long hours, six and seven days a week.

We’ve seen this company choose to close Warren Transmission and Baltimore Transmission plants and at the same time form a joint venture called Ultium to build batteries, investing billions of dollars and planning to create thousands of jobs with no commitment to our members or master agreement terms.

We’ve seen the cost of living put further strains on our members’ budgets.

For over 20 years, our members have sacrificed repeatedly, and it is unacceptable that this company has taken many of these actions during the greatest economic expansion and most profitable years in the history of the Big Three.

Our members have busted their asses to deliver quality products to the consumer while their conditions have regressed, and their bodies endure wear and tear due to working seven-day schedules.

The hard work of our members has generated record profits for this company and the workers deserve a commitment as our industry transitions to electric vehicles.


As we embark on this EV journey, we are constantly presented with the same tired script from the companies, that we must remain “competitive,” which is nothing more than a continued race to the bottom in a quest to follow the lowest bidder to pay poverty wages.

We’re not going to fall further behind. We have an obligation to future generations, and to set the standard again. Then we can bring other companies up to our standard.

We have an obligation to do what our ancestors have done, to bring pride back to working for a Big Three company and to leave things better than we found it.

Our mission doesn’t stop here, it begins here.

Today and during bargaining we’re going to hear about how we need to “work together,” and “find solutions to take on the competition.” You can’t preach teamwork and “working together to find solutions” while, for the past several years, “working together” at the Big Three has been a non-existent, one-way street to lower wages and plant closings.

The majority of our members at the Big Three are post-2007 hires with no retirement security. They’ve endured a years-long progression of temporary work and lower pay to get to full pay.

These are sad times when most of your workers can’t afford to buy what they build.

If you want to fix absenteeism, if you want to fix quality, then let’s end the tiers of workers and the progression to full pay. Pay a livable wage, with secure benefits and retirement security.

The bargaining committee, Vice President Booth, the IEB, and I will be presenting economic demands as we progress with bargaining.

As President of our union, I’m here to tell you, this is a new day for our members, and we are going in a new direction. Our members, both active and retired, have sacrificed more than their share, and it’s time this company rewards their sacrifice with economic justice.

We will not stand for the continued lack of respect for our jobs and our future.

How this round of bargaining goes will hinge on whether this company is going to treat workers with the dignity that is long overdue.

I want to be clear; we do not expect the traditional path of opening bargaining, and then spending a month and a half talking our demands to death.

September 14th is a deadline, not a reference point, so it is in the best interest for this corporation to get down to business with our bargaining committee and get to work resolving the demands of the membership.

This is the most critical set of bargaining in this company and our workers’ history.

It’s time to get to work. We have 58 days, and the clock is ticking,

I look forward to finding solutions and our members being rewarded for always delivering through the best and worst of times.

I look forward to shaking hands when we reach a deal that builds a strong future for our members for generations to come.

Thank you.

Yesterday, the federal government announced a massive $9.2 billion giveaway loan to Ford Motor Co. through the Department of Energy to create 7,500 low-road jobs with no consideration for wages, working conditions, union rights or retirement security. This handout may further enrich Ford shareholders, but it shortchanges communities and the UAW members who produce Ford’s vehicles, powertrains and record-breaking profits.

UAW President Shawn Fain’s response below:

“We have been absolutely clear that the switch to electric engine jobs, battery production and other EV manufacturing cannot become a race to the bottom. Not only is the federal government not using its power to turn the tide – they’re actively funding the race to the bottom with billions in public money.

“These companies are extremely profitable and will continue to make money hand over fist whether they’re selling combustion engines or EVs. Yet the workers get a smaller and smaller piece of the pie. Why is Joe Biden’s administration facilitating this corporate greed with taxpayer money?

“In the past five years, workers who build GM products in Lordstown, Ohio, have had their lives turned upside down as they were forced to retire, quit or uproot their families and move all over the United States when GM closed their plants despite massive profits. Their jobs were replaced in GM’s new joint-venture battery facility with jobs that pay half of what workers made at the previous Lordstown plant. Not only is the White House refusing to right this wrong, they’re giving Ford $9.2 billion to create the same low-road jobs in Kentucky and Tennessee.

“The last time the federal government gave the Big Three billions of dollars, the companies did the exact same thing: slash wages, cut jobs, and undermine the industry that for generations created the best jobs for working families in this country. Autoworkers and our families took the hit in 2009 in the name of saving the industry. We were never made whole, and it’s an absolute shame to see another Democratic administration doubling down on a taxpayer-funded corporate giveaway.”

In 100 days, contracts expire for 150,000 autoworkers at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. UAW members are gearing up to win big for working class communities across the country.

This contract fight will be the UAW’s defining moment as the auto industry transitions to electric vehicles. We’re setting a new standard, and members are united in the fight for our core demands:

  • Ending wage and benefit tiers that divide workers
  • Bringing back cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA)
  • Job security when companies are making record profits
  • Building a sustainable future for workers who build electric vehicles

The Big Three have made a quarter of a trillion dollars in North American profits in the past 10 years, while autoworkers still endure Great Recession-era wages and benefits. UAW autoworkers saved the auto industry 15 years ago and were never made whole.

It’s time for the Big Three to make it right.

We need your help to make sure they do.

Can we count on you?

WATCH: UAW members are back in the fight! https://youtu.be/r71X1Mee7nY

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