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Former UAW spokesperson calls possible strike plan 'unprecedented'

Brian Rothenberg says that leaks from negotiations signal there could be strikes on key products to "dig deep" into profits.
Former UAW spokesperson calls possible strike plan 'unprecedented'
Posted at 8:56 PM, Sep 12, 2023

Workers at auto industry supply companies are facing some possible big impacts as the United Auto Workers, along with Detroit's "Big Three," are still in contract negotiations that could result in a strike.

The sides have been working to come to an agreement since July. 

A former spokesperson for the UAW, Brian Rothenberg, said a potential strike could target on specific areas of the automotive manufacturing industry, causing deep profit losses. 

"As of tonight, it sounds like the leaks coming from [the negotiations] are that if they are going to strike, they are going to strike key products that would dig deep into the company, but not strike everybody in the union," Rothenberg told Scripps News.  "That is unprecedented. It would be, from what I'm reading, it would be, the leak says, all three companies. They'd pick strategic plants to do that. It would still affect some suppliers."

SEE MORE: Auto suppliers, workers likely to see impacts in looming UAW strike

The UAW is demanding the elimination of wage tiers and the return of retiree benefits like health care and pensions. In the negotiations, the union has asked for a 32-hour work week, and for workers to have a 46% wage increase. 

All three automakers have returned counteroffers to union demands, but none have been accepted, Scripps News Detroit reported. 

"It's a very different negotiation here," Rothenberg said. "Usually all of what's going on right now is behind closed doors." "Until earlier this week it was all public, with both the company and the union bargaining in the public," he said.

Workers at local auto supply companies said they are preparing to make cuts to their budgets in the event of a strike by the UAW. 

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