UAW members authorize potential strikes against General Motors

UAW members authorize potential strikes against General Motors
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The United Auto Workers (UAW) voted Tuesday to make General Motors the target of any potential strike by the automobile workers’ union, according to The Associated Press.

The vote is not a decision to strike but means that GM, rather than Ford or Fiat Chrysler, will be the focus of negotiations between automakers and the union. Union contracts representing about 152,000 workers at the three automakers expire in mid-September.

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GM is the most profitable of the “Big Three” automakers and has drawn union ire lately after announcing it will shutter four plants in Maryland, Ohio and Michigan, a move the UAW has vowed to fight.

The automakers have also worked lately to reduce hourly labor costs, which are up compared to those of Southern plants run by companies such as Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen.

“We are focused. We are prepared and we are all ready to stand up for our members, our communities and our manufacturing future,” UAW President Gary Jones said in a statement Tuesday, according to the AP.

The vote also comes amid legal woes for union leadership following an August FBI raid on both Jones’s home and that of former UAW President Dennis Williams. Nine people have been charged and eight sentenced to prison in connection with the investigation.

Jones himself has not been charged with a crime and marched in Detroit’s Labor Day parade Monday, leaving early without talking to any rank-and-file members, according to the AP.