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United Auto Workers approve national strike authorization, local UAW president talks next steps

Union officials now have workers' authorization to call a strike as local workers continue to negotiate with Detroit's automakers.

TOLEDO, Ohio — United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain announced Friday the union has approved strike authorization against Stellantis, Ford and General Motors if contract negotiations fail.

The vote passed with 97 percent of members voting for the authorization, the union announced.

The vote doesn't mean the union will strike, but it gives UAW leaders authority to call a strike if contract negotiations with the three big Detroit automakers fail. Negotiations for a new deal have been ongoing since July.

In the Toledo region workers with UAW Local 14, which represents workers at the General Motors Toledo Propulsion Systems plant and UAW Local 12, which represents Jeep workers, were included in the vote. 

UAW Local 14 President Tony Totty said this approval vote is a message to the Big Three that if the companies are not willing to work with the union on a contract, workers are prepared to strike.

"This vote right here is a message loud and clear, yes we are demanding a fair contract, and we want it now," Totty said. "We're not going to delay it, we're not gonna extend it. What we just did was authorize our leaders to take us out on strike, and we don't take it lightly."

Totty said while he's unsure if they will need to strike, he believes it's more likely with every passing day.

"Seeing how dug in Stellantis is, I'm more worried about them," he said. "It would be unfortunate. We could easily go out on strike, any one of us or all three of us. hopefully we won't get there, but we're all ready for it," 

The contract between the UAW and the big three expires Sept. 14.

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