Biden Sees Autoworkers Strike as “Unlikely” – UE Wins “Right-to-Strike” over Grievances – Studios Fight Amongst Themselves about Contract Details

UE members won the "right-to-strike" in a 2-month long strike (UE)


Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, where we are wrapping up a documentary shoot about the Landless Workers Movement. (A big thanks to all those who donated.)

I am returning to the US next week and preparing to cover a possible strike at the Big Three automakers. 

Biden Sees Autoworkers Strike as “Unlikely”

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden successfully intervened to cut a deal between the Teamsters and UPS to prevent a strike. Now, Biden is telling reporters that he also sees a strike between the UAW and the Big Three automakers as unlikely.

“I’m not worried about a strike,” Biden told reporters on Monday before a Labor Day rally in Philadelphia. “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

However, UAW President Shawn Fain, whose union recently filed federal unfair labor practices charges against GM and Stellantis over their failure to bargain, said that he does not agree with President Biden’s assessment of the likelihood of a strike at the Big Three. 

“He must know something that I don’t know,” Fain told Detroit Bureau. However, Fain noted that there was still ample time for the automakers to reach an agreement and avoid a strike. 

For more, check out the Detroit Bureau. 

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Studios Fighting Among Themselves on Cutting a Deal 

As the Writers’ strike enters its fifth month and the SAG-AFTRA enters its third month, some studio executives may be moving closer to cutting a deal to end the strikes. 

However, the Writers’ Guild warned its members in a Labor Day message that the studios, members of the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP, are “wrestling amongst themselves” about how to proceed). 

“They are in the process of wrestling amongst themselves, ramping up their public relations, and coming to terms with the fact that – with writers on strike – and actors on strike behind them – this negotiation is different. And they are going to have to do more – offer more – than they usually do,” wrote the Writers Guild in a message to its members. “Much of our frustration with how long this is taking stems from that – from their internal bargaining. But they will get there.”

For more, check out Deadline. 

After two month strike, UE settles at WABTEC

After more than two months on strike, 1,400 members of the UE have voted to ratify a contract at Wabtec. Th agreement includes an expansion of the “right-to-strike” mid-contract once the grievance process is exhausted. 

“This contract represents a substantial improvement over what Wabtec had on the table in June,” Local 506 President Scott Slawson said in a statement. “We are proud of the resolve of the membership over 70 days on the picket line. As a result of the action taken by our members, we made both economic and non-economic gains. The membership has voted to ratify this agreement. It’s time to get back to work.”

Check out this extensive fact sheet on what the UE gained in their 2-month strike. 

Bollywood Women’s Form Own Union to Bypass Boys’ Club 

Finally, actresses in Bollywood have begun to form their own union to bypass the dominant union in India’s film industry, which acts like a boy’s club. From Al-Jazeera: 

“We would bump into each other [and say] ‘Oh, my God, why can’t we get a toilet?’,” said D’Rozario, founder and president of Women in Film and Television, India, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Mumbai – the heart of the country’s film industry.

Besides the dearth of toilets, she said female staff had to contend with a lack of childcare facilities, lower pay and late-night shifts with no thought given to their personal safety – problems film industry trade unions have failed to resolve.

That has driven D’Rozario and other women working in India’s huge film industry to form their own groups outside the traditional trade union framework to lobby on issues related to working conditions and gender-related inequalities.

“In my mind, most of the film fraternity is a boys’ club,” said Fowzia Fathima, a cinematographer and founding member of the Indian Women Cinematographers’ Collective, a group of female cinematographers.

For more, check out Al-Jazeera. 

News & Strikes Elsewhere

Alright yinz, that’s all for today. Keep sending comments, tips, story ideas, and links to [email protected] 

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Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]