Striking United Auto Workers need higher wages, improved job safety, retiree pay will increase, and a 32-hour work week that could turbocharge broader acceptance of shorter work weeks.
Right now, almost 13,000 UAW employees have walked off the job at Ford Motor Co.
General Motors Co.
and Jeep and Chrysler father or mother Stellantis
nonetheless thought-about the influential Big Three for automobile makers.
If the union will get a win from on its 32-hour work week demand, that could be a large deal for momentum behind the broader four-day work week motion, consultants say.
Four days of work is “still in the early-adoption phase,” mentioned Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, director at Four Day Week Global, the place he advises firms contemplating the way to implement a curtailed conventional work week.
A UAW win on the 32-hour demand “would help move the four-day week from being something you do if you have a bold leader and you want to stand out in your industry, to a mainstream aspiration for every worker and business owner,” mentioned Soojung-Kim Pang.
“A lot more people can look at the four-day week and say if they are doing this in an auto factory, I absolutely can do it here in my small plant, or in my business,” he added.
Even if the 32-hour work week doesn’t make it to the ultimate deal, it’s a “game changer” that the demand is there in any respect, he mentioned. The demand could plant the thought in labor talks far past the UAW-company standoff.
A UAW win on the 32-hour week would trigger a “massive reverberation,” mentioned Cathy Creighton, of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
The demand’s presence is a signal of the COVID-19 pandemic’s lasting results, mentioned Creighton. While 5 days of in-person workplace attendance looks like a factor of the previous, “we’ve had fundamental changes in how workers and employers view work life and work-life balance.”
Many manufacturing facility employees might not have the ability to pull off distant work however they’ll press for a shortened week on the bodily demanding work, she famous. Historically, the UAW was one among the first unions to ship well being advantages, trip and pensions for its members, she famous.
“I think the labor movement has been playing it safe for a long time, and now they are not,” Creighton mentioned. The UAW’s 32-hour work week demand is a prime instance, she mentioned. “The five-day work week is so ingrained in our psyche that to think of something different is like an earthquake.”
Some analysis signifies individuals are prepared for a shake-up. Nearly six in 10 individuals who work 5 days say they would favor 4 10-hour days, in accordance with an August ballot in an ongoing have a look at employee attitudes run by tutorial researchers.
“We all know that living in a plant seven days a week, 12 hours a day, isn’t a living at all. We need real work-life balance. Auto workers deserve a life,” UAW president Shawn Fain informed members in a video replace days earlier than the focused strike.
Roughly 12,700 UAW members thus far have walked off the job at a Ford Motor plant in Michigan, a GM plant in Missouri and an Ohio plant for Stellantis NV, the maker of manufacturers like Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep and Ram Trucks.
Of course, there’s no assure how far the demand will get. The firms have counter proposals for the array of union asks, as a chart exhibits from researchers at Evercore ISI. They don’t but have counters on the 32-hour work week.
Switching to a 32-hour week with a 40-hour pay price could be a sharp labor price on prime of the wage will increase the UAW is already in search of, a Stellantis spokeswoman mentioned. It would require hiring not less than 25% extra employees to stay with present manufacturing schedules, she mentioned.
“We are extremely disappointed by the UAW leadership’s refusal to engage in a responsible manner to reach a fair agreement in the best interest of our employees, their families and our customers,” the firm mentioned in a assertion.
In a assertion, GM mentioned it was “disappointed by the UAW leadership’s actions, despite the unprecedented economic package GM put on the table, including historic wage increases and manufacturing commitments.”
Ford didn’t reply to a request for remark.
“It’s a big game of chess that Shawn Fain is playing. We’ll see how it turns out,” Creighton mentioned.
“Even if they don’t get the four-day week this time, there are going to be other moves in this game in the future,” from the UAW and past, Soojung-Kim Pang mentioned.
“Even if you have to give on the four-day week now, that doesn’t mean you give on the four-day week as an ideal or a goal.”