Autoworkers are readying themselves for a potential strike as contract negotiations with the so-called “Big Three” drag on. The United Auto Workers (UAW) is negotiating on behalf of nearly 150,000 workers at Detroit-based auto manufacturing plants run by Ford, GM, and Stellantis N.V. At face value, UAW’s demands sound audacious: a 46% pay raise and a four-day workweek, among other things. But given the decades-long decline in labor rights and wages, is it unreasonable?
Cedric de Leon, professor of sociology and labor studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst spoke with YES! Racial Justice Editor Sonali Kolhatkar on YES Presents: Rising Up With Sonali about the potential auto workers’ strike and why UAW’s demands are framed around a people-centered economy.
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