The United Auto Workers Union Strike: Background & Views

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Does the public support the United Auto Workers union strike? Who does the strike affect the most?

More than 34,000 members of the United Auto Workers union have been on strike for over a month, halting production at key plants. Polls show strong public support for the striking workers, which suggests sentiment may be shifting toward unions in the US.

Continue reading for a background on the UAW strike and the opinions surrounding it.

The 2 Views on the UAW Strike

Polls show that public support remains firmly on the side of striking US auto workers, even as the prolonged work stoppage starts to take a toll on the economy. The United Auto Workers strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers has entered its sixth week.


More than 34,000 United Auto Workers (UAW) members have walked off the job since the union announced a strike in mid-September in response to unsatisfactory contract offers from General Motors (GM), Ford, and Stellantis (known for its Jeep, Ram, Dodge, and Chrysler brands). The union’s 150,000 members are demanding:

  • A 36% raise over four years.
  • The return of cost-of-living adjustments tied to inflation.
  • Employer-paid health care for retirees. 
  • The elimination of employment tiers that give workers hired before 2007 better wages and benefits than those hired thereafter.

The targeted strikes have halted production at key plants and cost the Big Three, suppliers, dealers, and workers a total of $7.7 billion.

Polls Reveal Broad Public Support for the Strike 

The UAW strike comes amid growing support for the labor movement as a whole and rising union activism—at a time of significant economic unease in the US.  

Americans’ broad endorsement of better conditions for UAW workers may be rooted in a shared belief that it’s becoming harder to get ahead financially: 75% of Americans say it’s more difficult to advance economically now than a generation ago—a view held consistently across age, gender, and educational backgrounds, but that varies by race and political affiliation. 

  • 79% of white Americans feel it’s more difficult to get ahead financially, compared with 68% of Americans of color.
  • 70% of Democrats feel things have gotten harder financially, compared with 82% of Republicans.

View 1: Workers Deserve Higher Wages

Strike supporters, including much of the general public and President Biden, who became the first sitting president to visit a picket line in solidarity with UAW workers, argue that auto workers deserve higher pay because:

View 2: The Strike Has Major Downsides for Automakers

Automakers, business groups, and some potential GOP candidates counter that UAW is demanding too much in negotiations. They contend the union’s requests could have devastating effects, including slowing EV production and undermining automakers’ ability to stay competitive. Former President Trump has claimed the union’s demands could lead automakers to move more auto jobs to China

Looking Ahead

Experts say that although the outcome of the auto workers’ strike is uncertain, the UAW may have more leverage in contract negotiations than it’s had in years due to the broad public support for unions and ongoing hiring challenges faced by many businesses. If successful, the strike could inspire workers across industries to push for better working conditions and benefits.  

The United Auto Workers Union Strike: Background & Views

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Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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