Joining picket lines, advocates and UAW workers push Big Three for fair contract and a just transition
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On picket lines and at auto dealerships across the country, advocates from environmental, advocacy, consumer, and civil society groups today joined United Auto Workers to demand that Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis provide fair contracts for their 150,000 workers.
The action comes a day after UAW announced that GM agreed to place its electric battery manufacturing under the UAW’s National Master Agreement.
Members of Public Citizen, Labor Network for Sustainability, Greenpeace USA, Jobs with Justice, Sunrise Movement, Democratic Socialists of America, 350.org, Working Families Party, Evergreen Action, Green New Deal Network, and Sierra Club joined over 40 picket lines and handed out flyers at ten additional community events across the country. Participating groups rallied alongside UAW members, pushing for workers to get a fair share of the gains as the Big Three automakers transition their fleets towards electric vehicles.
Since September 15, more than 25,000 UAW members have taken part in a strike at over 40 auto plants across 20 states operated by the Big Three. More than 150 climate, environmental, and economic justice organizations signed an open letter to the CEOs of the Big Three calling for automakers to accept the UAW’s contract demands.
“Standing strong with the UAW is vital to ensure the EV transition doesn’t leave a generation of workers behind,” said Erika Thi Patterson, auto supply chain campaign director for Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “Auto workers are paving the road to a just transition from gas power to an electric future. GM agreeing to UAW’s bold demand that battery plants be covered under the National Agreement is a huge step forward. It normalizes that automakers should be accountable for working conditions throughout their entire supply chains. Today’s day of action is building on this momentum to push the Big Three to meet all of UAW’s demands.”
“This is an historic moment with the momentum to win the pay, benefits, and working conditions all workers deserve. This effort is a monumental step towards winning a just transition and good union jobs for everyone,” said executive director for Sunrise Movement, Aru Shiney-Ajay.
“The announcement that General Motors has agreed to bring battery plants under the National Agreement is an unprecedented victory that builds towards our movement’s vision of a Green New Deal, but there is still more to win,” said Labor Network for Sustainability organizer Sydney Ghazarian, who has been coordinating UAW solidarity work. “We won’t back down until the Big Three agree to the strong contract that auto workers are demanding and that they deserve.”
“The Sierra Club is in solidarity with United Auto Workers. The electric vehicle transition can’t be a race to the bottom that exploits workers; UAW workers deserve to benefit from it. We can and must have a clean energy transition that protects workplace democracy and promotes good union jobs, fights the climate crisis, and moves our nation away from polluting gas cars,” said Katherine García, director of Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign.
“Let this be the death of the old tired jobs versus environment debate. The UAW is proving we can have good union jobs, economic prosperity, and tackle the climate crisis head on if we are willing to fight for it together.” said Ben Smith, senior campaigner, Greenpeace USA. “Now, the fight continues to win a fair contract for all workers at the Big Three. Greenpeace USA and our staff and supporters are proud to join UAW members and our broader community for a Day of Action on the picket lines and at the dealerships to build on the powerful momentum of this historic victory of a just transition at GM.”
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