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Autoworkers Strike

WALKOUT Autoworkers strike at a Ford plant in Chicago, Illinois, on September 30. TAYLOR GLASCOCK—BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

Some 7,000 autoworkers in Michigan and Illinois joined a strike against Ford and General Motors (GM) on September 30. They want higher pay from the car companies. And they want job protections. Another 18,000 American autoworkers have been striking for weeks.

Raneal Edwards works in a GM factory. “This is about more than wages,” she says. “It’s about having security at our jobs.”

The United Autoworkers Union is negotiating with Ford, GM, and Stellantis. It wants a 40% raise for workers, and to end tiers. That’s a system by which people are paid differently according to their hire date. And it wants top wages at electric vehicle (EV) factories.

The companies say they’ve spent a lot of money to make more EVs. They can’t pay workers too much, they say. It will make it hard to compete with other automakers. They’re willing to give some raises. But Jim Farley, Ford’s CEO, says he won’t jeopardize its future by agreeing to all of the union’s demands. “We will never do it,” he says.

Stop and Think! Why is this strike newsworthy? How might the strike affect people who buy cars? How do you think the strike will end?