Ahead of possible UAW strike: Strategy plays key role

How strikes have played out in the past could play a key role in strike strategy during UAW's negotiations.
Posted at 11:19 PM, Sep 14, 2023

A former spokesperson for the UAW said that the union would launch a strike in a targeted way that would be unprecedented for a labor compensation fight of this type. 

Brian Rothenberg, a former UAW spokesperson, told Scripps News, "I do think there's going to be a boutique or standup strike ... where you strike an individual place. You know ...  you can strike a transmission plant. The only transmission plant that makes stuff for certain trucks. That plant might go down in a ripple effect."

What's the risk of buying a car during the UAW strike?
United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain

What's the risk of buying a car during the UAW strike?

Though the Big Three automakers have a lot of inventory, if the strike lasts a few weeks, supply could really take a hit.


Rothenberg said, "There's going to be a lot of arguing over whether, if you're only striking one plant and the other plant goes down... Ford's already said they're not going to pay sub pay and they're not going to pay those workers when they have to shut down the other plant. It's going to get a little dicey."

He believes there could be scenarios where companies remove rights such as arbitration, which could cause a host of other issues. 

Rothenberg said a scenario could arise where employers could start to get "nit picky" and start writing up workers over little things. The removal of arbitration could cause major issues for employee rights, allowing the company to fire workers in an easier fashion. 

The strike, while important for workers, could also cause major profit losses for companies and higher prices for consumers looking to buy a vehicle. 

"We expect to see fewer choices for consumers. So if you want to buy a car from the Big Three, the sooner you buy it, the better, knowing that there aren't going to be huge savings," said Ambrose Conroy, the CEO and founder of Seraph Consulting.

Workers face much lower pay while on strike, and may not ever receive back pay in the event of a new contract. 

Workers were looking at around $500 per week as a possible strike compensation package. Rothenberg urged those who know someone on strike to consider donating food and other supplies. 

He believes that a dramatic pay cut could spell big issues as inflation continues across the country.