UAW vs. the Detroit Big 3 automakers The auto unions are in the midst of heated negotiations with the major automakers as a contract deadline approaches just before midnight on Thursday.
Special Series

UAW vs. the Detroit Big 3 automakers

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain posed with UAW members as they strike the General Motors Lansing Delta Assembly Plant in Michigan in late September. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Big 3 autoworkers vote 'yes' to historic UAW contracts

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1212381342/1213684545" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In this Wednesday, May 8, 2013 photo, Jeff Caldwell, 29, a chassis assembly line supervisor, monitors the assembly line at the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit. Paul Sancya/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Paul Sancya/AP

General Motors CEO Mary Barra made nearly $29 million in 2022. This amount is 362 times the median GM employee's paycheck, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Sky-high CEO pay is in focus as workers everywhere are demanding higher wages

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1198938942/1199197448" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain speaks outside the UAW Local 900 headquarters across the street from the Ford Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. The union announced the start of a strike at three factories just after midnight on Friday. Matthew Hatcher/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Matthew Hatcher/AFP via Getty Images

How Shawn Fain, an unlikely and outspoken president, led the UAW to strike

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1199743646/1199884309" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Ford workers meet with United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., on July 12, 2023. The UAW is fighting hard to regain the things they gave up before and during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Why this fight is so personal for the UAW workers on strike

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1202625396/1203319838" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain talks with the news media before marching in the Detroit Labor Day Parade on September 4, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Why a 4-day workweek is on the table for autoworkers

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1198394085/1198716818" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Union academic workers and supporters march and picket at the UCLA campus amid a statewide strike by nearly 48,000 University of California unionized workers on Nov. 15, 2022, in Los Angeles. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mario Tama/Getty Images

UAW members aren't all assembling cars. More and more are unionized grad students

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1206209107/1206485902" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

UAW workers picket outside of the Stellantis Mopar parts facility in Naperville, Ill., on Sept. 22, 2023. The UAW strike against Big Three automakers may not have much of an impact on car shoppers, though that could change. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Autoworkers at Mercedes plant in Vance, Ala., assemble an all-electric SUV. Stephan Bisaha/Gulf States Newsroom hide caption

toggle caption
Stephan Bisaha/Gulf States Newsroom

Here's one potential winner from the UAW strike: Non-union auto workers in the South

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1200875078/1200994977" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union march through the streets of downtown Detroit following a rally on the first day of the UAW strike in Detroit on Friday. Workers at the "Big Three" U.S. auto manufacturers went on strike on Sept. 15. Mathew Hatcher/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mathew Hatcher/AFP via Getty Images

UAW President Shawn Fain joins union members at a rally at the UAW Local 551 hall on the South Side in Chicago on Oct. 7, 2023. Fain said on Friday the union will now be ready to expand its strike at any time, calling it a "new phase" in its fight against the Big Three automakers. Jim Vondruska/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

UAW supporters and members hold signs outside the Stellantis Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Mich., on July 12. Electric vehicles may not be at the heart of the contract talks between the UAW and the Detroit automakers, but as the sign subtly shows, they loom large in the negotiations. Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Why the transition to electric cars looms large in UAW talks with Big 3 automakers

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1198904929/1199044257" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

United Auto Workers members attend a solidarity rally in Detroit at the start of the union's strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis on Sept. 15. The union is striking against all three automakers at once for the first time ever, but only at targeted plants for now, making it even harder to assess what the strike's economic effects will be. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

How the UAW strike could have ripple effects across the economy

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1199599925/1199907421" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

United Auto Workers members attend a solidarity rally as the UAW strikes the Big Three automakers on September 15, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

UAW has a unique strike strategy. It keeps Detroit Big 3 automakers guessing

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1200198072/1200431083" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Goran Larsson, a cargo ship inspector, poses next to the Transport Workers' Union flag at the Malmo port on Nov. 7. Dockworkers are refusing to load or unload Teslas at this port and all others across the country. Danielle Kaye for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Danielle Kaye for NPR

Swedish dockworkers are refusing to unload Teslas at ports in broad boycott move

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1213157550/1213785072" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

United Auto Workers members strike the General Motors Lansing Delta Assembly Plant on September 29, 2023 in Lansing, Michigan. xx% of GM workers have so far voted xx on ratifying the tentative contract agreement. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

GM autoworkers' contract appears likely to pass over many workers' objections

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1213002420/1213287278" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The United Auto Workers union and the Big 3 automakers say the record contract deals reached after a six-week strike will be life-changing for autoworkers. But some lament the gains don't fully make up for past concessions. Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Why thousands of UAW autoworkers are voting 'no' on Big 3's 'life-changing' contracts

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1212603862/1212697902" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Workers form a picket line outside the Ford Motor Co. Kentucky Truck Plant in the early morning hours on October 12, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. This week, a majority of workers at the plant voted no on the tentative contract deal. Luke Sharrett/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Luke Sharrett/Getty Images

UAW members strike the General Motors Lansing Delta Assembly Plant in Lansing, Mich., on Sept. 29, 2023. The UAW clinched a deal with GM more than six weeks after the start of the auto strike. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

GM workers strike outside the General Motors Wentzville Assembly Plant in Wentzville, Missouri, on Sept. 15, 2023. Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

UAW workers picket outside of Ford's Wayne Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., on Sept. 26, 2023. The union and Ford reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday, in a major potential development in the ongoing strike against the Big Three automakers. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Scott Olson/Getty Images