TOLEDO, Ohio — Labor Day is a day to celebrate workers in America and the U.S. Labor movement. This year comes at a time when a potential strike looms with one of the nation's biggest unions.
The Big 3 remain locked in negotiation with the United Autoworkers. During Monday's Labor Day festivities, negotiations between the UAW and Stellantis, Ford and GM were a big talking point.
“I think the companies are more concerned about profits,” David Green, Regent 2B Director, said. “They're more concerned about their stock buyback and don't put their emphasis on their workers. The workers are the ones that make the billions of dollars for the company. We're not asking to be millionaires; we're just asking to be treated fairly."
Green says workers are not being taken care of. Even more so that when unions fight and bargain for good contracts it doesn't just help its members.
“When our contracts are good and we get gains, all workers get gains, whether you're in a union or not,” he said.
Stellantis is one of the Big 3 and usually, it offers up a float to be in the parade. This year, Stellantis denied it.
“They said something about having to reserve it a couple of weeks in advance and they dropped it on us last minute. We've never had to do that. We've always had, you know, the opportunity to use it whenever we need and they know that we bring it down here every single year, so,” Michael Sawaya, chairperson at Toledo Jeep, said.
Sawaya says he doesn't find it a coincidence that during the time of contract negations and a looming strike, the float is unavailable.
“It's a way to maybe kill the morale but it's not. As you can see we're all still here and we're going to march as we always do,” Sawaya said.
“We are all together because it doesn't matter what local you're from or what union you belong to. Fighting for human rights and social justice is what the Labor Movement has done since its inception, and we're going to continue to do that,” Green said.
WTOL 11 reached out to Stellantis for a comment and did not immediately hear back.
The deadline for a deal between the unions and the Big 3 is Sept. 14. If conditions are not met by that time and the contracts expire, workers say they will strike.