This Labor Day, the UAW released “Prosperity,” a new video showing how the union has helped lift millions of American families into the middle class. One of those families was UAW President Shawn Fain’s.
In the video, partly filmed at two practice pickets last month in Louisville, Fain tells of the poverty his grandparents endured in Kentucky and Tennessee and the prosperity they found in the UAW-organized auto plants of Kokomo, Indiana.
“As the companies prospered, so did my family,” Fain says in the video. “That didn’t just magically happen. It happened because of the UAW. It happened because they and their coworkers came together, they organized and they fought for a greater share of the value they created.”
The video’s release comes as UAW members are fighting in Big Three negotiations to restore the strong pay and benefits that were stripped from autoworkers hired after 2007.
- An Aug. 31 Washington Post story focused on the struggles of “temporary” workers at Stellantis who start at just $15.78 an hour, are often denied full-time jobs for years, and have little to no control over their schedules.
- The Detroit Free Press on Sept. 2 documented the chasm between CEO and worker pay at the Big Three, with Ford CEO Jim Farley making 281 times more than the company’s median employee, GM’s Mary Barra making 362 times more, and Stellantis’ Carlos Tavares making 365 times more.
A Gallup poll last week found that 75 percent of Americans back UAW members in their negotiations with the Big Three. Just 19 percent side with the companies.
In the video, Fain notes that Big Three CEOs received average raises of 40 percent over the last four years. “We know our members are worth the same and more,” Fain says. “That’s why we are demanding a 40 percent wage increase for autoworkers.” The UAW argues that the Big Three can easily afford the union’s demands.
Collectively, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis made $250 billion in North American profits from 2013 to 2022. In just the first six months of 2023, they raked in $21 billion in total profits.
The UAW recently raised strike pay to $500 per week per member and has over $825 million in the union strike fund. Last month, UAW members voted by 97% to authorize a strike in preparation for the September 14th deadline for contract negotiations with the Big Three.
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