From today’s NPR News:
As a potential strike looms over the Detroit Three automakers, the United Auto Workers union is pushing for a substantial pay raise for its members: 46% over four years.
It’s a raise that Marcelina Pedraza, a Ford electrician in Chicago, thinks is long overdue.
“Everything’s going up — the cost of food, gas, mortgage interest rates,” Pedraza said. “A lot of people haven’t been able to have a safety net anymore.”
UAW, which represents 150,000 workers at General Motors, Stellantis and Ford, is not alone in asking for big pay raises over the course of their contract. In recent months, workers across industries have fought for — and, in a handful of cases, won — around 50% wage increases over the next four to five years, as they call out years of stagnant wages and robust company profits.
These bold union demands, bolstered by a tight labor market and frustration throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, are paying off in some sectors with raises that significantly exceed the expected rate of inflation.
After months of contentious negotiations that led 340,000 UPS workers to the brink of a strike, the Teamsters union in July secured a 48% average total wage increase, over the course of the five-year contract, for existing part-time workers. Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien said the contract “sets a new standard in the labor movement.”
In August, the Allied Pilots Association, which represents 15,000 American Airlines pilots, successfully pressured the airlines to increase pilots’ pay by more than 46% over four years, with an immediate pay raise of more than 21%.
Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines 737 pilot and spokesperson for the union, said the pay bump accounts for years of stagnant wages. The last time pilots got a raise, he said, was in 2019.
“It’s been a long time since there’s been any financial gain,” Tajer said. “This may be a four-year deal, but nothing’s happened since January 2019 in pay.”
Read the complete story here.