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 joined YES! in summer 2021, building on a long and decorated career in broadcast and print journalism. She is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and host and creator of YES! Presents: Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. She is also Senior Correspondent with the Independent Media Institute’s Economy for All project where she writes a weekly column. She is the author of Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (2023) and Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence (2005). Her forthcoming book is called Talking About Abolition (Seven Stories Press, 2025). Sonali is co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women’s Mission which she helped to co-found in 2000. 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. Sonali reflects on “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host” in her 2014 TEDx talk of the same name.