Unionized auto workers appear to have reached a tentative agreement with the Big Three automakers based in Detroit. After weeks of creative strategizing around strikes and setting high standards for their contract negotiations, manufacturers have agreed to many, but not all, of United Auto Workers (UAW)’s demands, including hefty wage increases, cost of living adjustments, and the elimination of a two-tiered hiring system.
Part of the union’s victory includes an agreement secured with GM in early October to bring electric car battery facilities under UAW’s national contract. Labor analyst Les Leopold sees this as critical to what climate justice organizers have for years been calling a “just transition” away from fossil fuels. Leopold is the executive director of the Labor Institute and author of the forthcoming book, Wall Street’s War on Workers: How Mass Layoffs and Greed Are Destroying the Working Class and What to Do About It.
He spoke with YES! Racial Justice Editor Sonali Kolhatkar on YES Presents: Rising Up With Sonali about what UAW’s victory means for labor organizing and climate justice.
Sonali Kolhatkar is currently the racial justice editor at YES! Media and a writing fellow with Independent Media Institute. She was previously a weekly columnist for Truthdig.com. She is also the host and creator of Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. Sonali won First Place at the Los Angeles Press Club Annual Awards for Best Election Commentary in 2016. She also won numerous awards including Best TV Anchor from the LA Press Club and has also been nominated as Best Radio Anchor 4 years in a row. She is the author of Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence, and the co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women's Mission. Her forthcoming book is Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (City Lights, 2023). She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. She reflects on her professional path in her 2014 TEDx talk, “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host.” She can be reached at sonalikolhatkar.com