In a new video, UAW President Shawn Fain lays out a key goal of 2023 contract negotiations with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis: winning back COLA, or Cost of Living Adjustments.
Without COLA, inflation has far outpaced the raises UAW members negotiated in 2019. By contrast, CEOs of the Big Three have seen their pay jump over 40 percent between 2019 and 2022.
“Inflation is hammering the American people. We see it in the cost of eggs, the price of milk. We feel the squeeze at the gas pump, and when we pay rent. Bills go up and our paychecks don’t. Working people can’t keep up.
“That’s why we’re fighting for Cost of Living Adjustments, also known as COLA.
“Back in 1946, the UAW went on strike against General Motors, and two years later was the first union to secure Cost of Living in a union contract. The clause meant that wages would be tied to inflation, so workers wouldn’t be left behind economically. When inflation took off in the 1970s, the UAW won Cost of Living across all of our employers to ensure that we could keep up.
“Like so many other important gains autoworkers made over the decades, we lost COLA in 2009 as a result of the auto bankruptcies during the Great Recession.
“Now, the auto industry is back, and then some. In the past decade, the Big Three automakers have made a quarter of a trillion dollars in profits in North America.
Meanwhile, autoworkers real wages have stayed flat, or even worse, they’ve regressed. In 2019, we won 6.1 percent wage increases. In the three and a half years since, inflation is triple that, at 18.3 percent. Inflation has wiped out those gains, and then some. That’s unacceptable, and unsustainable. That’s money we’re leaving on the table, while our employers keep pocketing billions more.
“Autoworkers need Cost of Living now. Let’s get back in the fight for good auto jobs. For our families, for our communities, and for working people everywhere.”
Big Three contracts are set to expire on September 14th.
View the video here.
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