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How They Did It: Labor Journalist Jane Slaughter on UAW's "Life-Changing" Deal with Big 3 Automakers

Written by on 31/10/2023

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The United Auto Workers union has reached tentative agreements with Ford, Stellantis and General Motors, and workers are returning as they end a historic six-week strike against the Big Three automakers based in Detroit. Under the deals, workers will get major raises over the length of the contracts, as well as improved benefits. “They will be life-changing for some of the lowest-paid members of the union,” says legendary labor journalist Jane Slaughter, founder of Labor Notes. The UAW’s success is largely attributed to union president Shawn Fain’s “stand-up strike” strategy, in which workers walked off the job at more locations each week in response to lack of progress at the bargaining table. Fain is part of a new wave of reformist leaders who were intent on reversing losses from the Great Recession, when the union made historic concessions to keep the car companies afloat. “None of this would be happening if it were the old UAW,” says Slaughter.

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