An Auto Workers strike has commenced at a Mercedes-Benz supplier in Alabama as the Detroit Big Three automakers’ strike continues into its sixth week in the Motor City.
In a move that has caused tension across the industry, the United Auto Workers (UAW) are seeking better wages and benefits for employees, as well as greater job security. The walkout has affected two subsidiaries of Mercedes-Benz: Esco Technologies in Theodore and ECD Automotive Design in Albertville.
The workers affected are part of UAW’s “supplier sector”, which are independent suppliers that provide parts, services and labor to the automakers. These suppliers are subject to different rules under UAW’s collective bargaining agreement with the automakers, and some have argued that the union needs to better represent the supplier sector workers.
In the wake of the strike, Mercedes-Benz has said it is “working with our partners to assess solutions” and that it is “committed to resolving this situation as quickly as possible in a way that is fair for all impacted parties.”
In Detroit, employees at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are without paychecks as they continue to strike. The automakers have said in a statement that they are “committing increased resources to reach an agreement with the UAW that benefits employees and allows the companies to remain competitive.”
The longer the strikes drag on, the more disruption it will cause to both the suppliers and the automakers. It’s unclear how this situation will resolve itself, but in the meantime, the UAW and the automakers continue to negotiate in order to reach a fair and equitable deal.