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Auto workers vote overwhelmingly to let union leaders to call strikes against Detroit companies – WTOP News

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DETROIT (AP) — Auto workers are voting overwhelmingly to give union leaders the authority to call strikes against Detroit car…

DETROIT (AP) — Auto workers are voting overwhelmingly to give union leaders the authority to call strikes against Detroit car companies if a contract agreement isn’t reached.

The United Auto Workers union said Friday that results are still being tallied, but so far 97% have voted in favor of authorizing one or more strikes against Stellantis, General Motors and Ford. Such votes are almost always approved by large margins.

Contracts between the union representing about 146,000 workers at Stellantis, General Motors and Ford expire at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 14. Fain said earlier this week that negotiations with the companies are not progressing fast enough. But he also said a strike is not inevitable.

Contract talks with the Detroit Three began in July, but Fain has consistently said the companies aren’t bargaining seriously. Fain has said the union hasn’t picked a company as a strike target, and it could target all three.

In a statement Friday, the UAW said the vote does not guarantee that a strike will be called.

The companies have said they’re bargaining in good faith. Stellantis, which has drawn much of Fain’s ire in recent weeks, has said it wants to fairly compensate workers and find solutions to protect the company from nonunion automakers with lower costs, and additional costs related to the transition to electric vehicles.

“We look forward to working with the UAW on creative solutions during this time when our dramatically changing industry needs a skilled and competitive workforce more than ever,” Ford said in a statement Friday.

The union is seeking a 40% pay increase, restoration of pensions for new hires, elimination of wage tiers and other items. Fain has often told workers they have to be ready to strike in order to achieve gains from the profitable automakers.

The union also wants to represent joint venture electric vehicle battery plants being built by the companies, and it’s seeking top union wages at those factories.

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