The UAW Is Fighting Bidenomics and Bidenflation

The imminent industrial action spearheaded by the United Auto Workers seems to be a clear stand against not just the strategies of companies such as General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis but also the economic directions shaped by the Biden administration.

Over a decade prior, the American automotive industry was on the brink of disaster, with a couple facing bankruptcy during the financial crisis. This critical period saw the unions and the workers they represented making significant compromises to ensure the survival of the major automotive companies. One significant compromise was agreeing to contracts that did not adjust wages according to inflation rates.

During that period, the unions experienced immense pressure, with the Obama government vigorously advocating for their plan, primarily to gain recognition for salvaging the automobile sector. The workforce faced threats of financial downturns if they refused to help stabilize their struggling employers. Unfortunately, the political support for the unions dwindled, with the Democrats distancing themselves and the Republican party showing little interest as they were more focused on furthering the interests of large corporations and the financial sector.

Initially, the decision to forgo the automatic inflation adjustment on salaries seemed like a minor sacrifice as the Federal Reserve had successfully maintained low inflation rates since the early ’90s. However, the landscape changed drastically when the Biden administration assumed office and rolled out the 1.9 trillion dollar American Rescue Plan Act. This shift saw a spike in inflation rates, with Detroit – the hub of America’s automobile manufacturing – being affected significantly, experiencing an inflation rate even higher than the national average. This scenario left Detroit’s auto workers grappling with the brunt of the economic downturn, which was exacerbated by the administration’s fiscal policies.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration, along with other Democratic figures, have tended to minimize the impact of inflation or deflect the blame onto other factors like corporate greed or geopolitical events. This approach has left many wondering about the shift in the Democratic party’s stance, which once championed the cause of the auto workers. The autoworkers seem to have paid a higher price in this scenario, with no acknowledgment or appreciation from the governing authorities.

Meanwhile, the leading automotive companies have been witnessing a surge in profits. Notable figures like Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, have seen a substantial increase in their earnings, seemingly unaffected by the inflation that has eroded the purchasing power of the average worker. In response to this, the UAW is demanding the reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments, a move indicating their diminishing trust in the promises of inflation containment.

Moreover, the Biden administration’s push towards more extensive electrification of new vehicles poses a threat to the employment prospects of auto workers. The transition to electric vehicles would potentially result in reduced workforce requirements, and the proposed new manufacturing facilities are being planned in states with less union influence. This move has raised questions about the fairness of the expected sacrifices from the autoworkers, particularly as they seem to bear a disproportionate burden of the transition.

Regarding economic repercussions, experts argue that a potential strike by the UAW would not necessarily have a catastrophic effect on the U.S. economy, as it would affect only a tiny fraction of the workforce. Even in the case of wage increments, it’s anticipated that the impact on inflation would be minimal, with the manufacturers absorbing most of the increased costs.

As the workers brace themselves for a challenging period, it echoes the sentiments of age-old labor movements, embodying their resilience and unity in fighting for their rights and recognition. It echoes the essence of classic union anthems that remind us of the strength in unity.