How could a UAW strike impact US automotive electrification?

On 25 August 2023, United Auto Workers (UAW) members voted 97% in favour of strike authorisation at GM, Ford, and Stellantis. If new labour contracts are not agreed by 14 September, strike action will likely take place. Demands include a 46% wage increase, cost-of-living adjustments, and an end to tiered wage systems that disadvantage veteran workers.

During a Facebook Live session, UAW President Shawn Fain made it clear that the ball was in the OEMs’ court: “Our goal is not to strike. I want to make that very clear. Our goal is to bargain good agreements for our members.” Nonetheless, he reaffirmed that the ‘Big Three’ would face industrial action if negotiations fell through. The union currently represents around 150,000 workers.

With decision time looming, what could be the long-term impact of strike action on the US automotive industry? Furthermore, how could it affect a wider supplier ecosystem that has been embattled since the COVID-19 pandemic?

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