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United Auto Workers strike vote to start next week

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The United Auto Workers union is planning to hold strike authorization votes in the coming week to determine if its 150,000 members will walk out if contract negotiations stall. 

With their contract set to expire on September 14, the UAW expressed frustration over the pace of talks with Detroit's major automakers.

The union said the negotiations have “yet to progress beyond non-economic issues.”

Read More: UAW Pushes For 40 Percent Pay Hike In Talks With Detroit Automakers

UAW President Shawn Fain said: “Whether or not there’s a strike next month is entirely up to the Big Three automakers,” referring to General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.

“Our priorities are clear, the companies can afford them, and there’s plenty of time for the Big Three to get serious about these negotiations. ”

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The UAW has increased strike pay to $500 per week per member and maintains a strike fund exceeding $825 million.

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The company said: “Ford is proud to build more vehicles in America and employ more UAW-represented hourly workers in America than any other automaker.

"We look forward to working with the UAW on creative solutions during this time when our dramatically changing industry needs a skilled and competitive workforce more than ever.”

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General Motors said it is working hard with the union “to ensure we get this agreement right for all our stakeholders. 

“We know that our U.S. economic impact supports more than six jobs for every job created by GM. We take that responsibility very seriously.”

Read More: Teamsters Avert Strike Threat At Yellow

Stellantis, while not responding directly, has previously mentioned its intent to balance worker concerns with the need for competitive business practices.

President Biden has got involved

President Biden has also weighed in, urging both sides to find a resolution and avoid destabilizing an industry responsible for about three percent of the nation's GDP. 

He emphasized the importance of retaining jobs and communities in the manufacturing sector while encouraging fair wages and respecting workers' rights to organize.

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Biden's statement also carried a message of caution for the UAW, highlighting the need for the auto industry to remain competitive globally, particularly as it shifts toward producing electric vehicles.

The UAW, which accounts for nearly half of the light vehicles produced in the US, has intensified its demands under the leadership of President Fain. 

The union's demands include a 40 percent wage increase over the proposed four-year contract.

It aims to restore cost-of-living adjustments, end tiered employment structures, and ensure equitable compensation and job security for electric vehicle plants.

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