WASHINGTON, [10.19.23] – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) joined Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and 31 of their colleagues in the Senate to introduce a resolution in solidarity with 150,000 members of United Auto Workers (UAW) bargaining for a fair contract.
Autoworkers voted to go on strike in September– calling for a fair share of the record-breaking profits their labor produces as well as cost-of-living adjustments, an end to two-tier wage system, and restoration of pension benefits. Since then, the strike has expanded to 44 locations across 22 states. It is one of the largest U.S. strikes in the past three decades.
“Workers bailed out the Big 3 auto manufacturers during the Great Recession to keep the companies afloat. Now, these companies make billions in profit while workers see stagnant wages,” said Smith. “I stand with the UAW workers in Minnesota and around the country who are striking for a fair contract and call on the automakers to negotiate with them in good faith.”
“The fight the UAW is waging has everything to do with the outrageous level of corporate greed and arrogance on the part of senior executives in the automobile industry and their backers on Wall Street,” said Sanders. “At a time when the Big 3 automakers have made $250 billion in profits over the past decade, it is absolutely unacceptable that wages for the average autoworker have gone down by 30 percent in the past 20 years after adjusting for inflation. If these companies could afford to spend $9 billion on stock buybacks and dividends last year, they can afford to sign a contract that treats their workers with the respect and the dignity that they deserve. Enough is enough. The time has come for the United States Senate to go on record in support of UAW workers and against corporate greed. That is what this resolution is all about.”
“We stand in solidarity with autoworkers in Ohio and around the country as they demand the Big 3 automakers respect the work they do to make these companies successful. Any union family knows that a strike is always a last resort – autoworkers want to be on the job, not on the picket line,” said Brown. “UAW workers made sacrifices to save the American auto industry. Now the Big 3 are making record profits – all workers are asking for is their fair share. These companies need to bargain in good faith and agree to a fair contract that honors the Dignity of Work.”
Senators Smith, Sanders and Brown were joined on the resolution by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).
Read the full resolution below and here.
Supporting the nearly 150,000 United Auto Workers currently negotiating collective bargaining agreements with the ‘‘Big Three’’ automakers.
Whereas the United Auto Workers (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘UAW’’) are on strike for better wages, benefits, and working conditions at the Big Three automakers (General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford);
Whereas the Big Three automakers have made $21,000,000,000 in profits over the first 6 months of 2023, an increase of 80 percent from the same time period last year;
Whereas the Big Three automakers have made $250,000,000,000 in profits over the past decade in North America;
Whereas the Big Three automakers are providing their Chief Executive Officers with exorbitant compensation packages, while autoworkers continue to fall further and further behind;
Whereas the average wage for an autoworker has decreased by 30 percent over the past 20 years, after adjusting for inflation;
Whereas the Big Three spent $9,000,000,000 last year on stock buybacks and dividends, while the average starting wage at these companies is just $17 an hour;
Whereas many UAW members today cannot afford to buy the cars they make and struggle to afford the basic necessities of life, including groceries, housing, child care, and prescription drugs;
Whereas UAW members are fighting against corporate greed and to finally receive a fair share of the record-breaking profits that their labor has produced, including for cost-of-living adjustments, an end to the 2-tier wage system, and the restoration of pension benefits; and
Whereas, since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 151 et seq.) in 1935, it is the clear policy of the United States to encourage collective bargaining and protect the fundamental right of workers to seek better working conditions:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate—
- stands with the United Auto Workers in their fight against corporate greed;
- supports every worker’s fundamental right 4 to organize and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions; and
- calls on the Big Three automakers—General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford—to negotiate in good faith and offer their workers a fair contract.