President Saunders, AFSCME members picket with UAW members, show strong solidarity

TOLEDO, Ohio – AFSCME President Lee Saunders and dozens of AFSCME members stood strong alongside striking UAW members at the Stellantis Jeep and Chrysler assembly plant here Monday in a powerful demonstration of solidarity with the autoworkers. UAW members are waging a historic strike – the first ever strike against all three major American automakers at the same time.

President Saunders, AFSCME members picket with UAW members, show strong solidarity

Photo credit: Ezra Kane-Salafia.

Over the last decade, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis have made more than $250 billion in profits. They’ve spent tens of billions of dollars making their bosses and shareholders richer with huge raises and stock buybacks. But the autoworkers who actually make the cars aren’t seeing fair compensation.

When the American auto industry nearly went bankrupt in the 2008 recession, autoworkers voluntarily gave up wage increases, pensions, and accepted deep cuts in two-tier contracts. But while the stock prices and CEO pay have skyrocketed, autoworkers still haven’t been made whole.

This isn’t just a fight for fair compensation and benefits. The autoworkers are fighting for all of us. As corporate profits have soared across the board, working families have been left behind. The middle and working class are the engine of the American economy but have been asked to sacrifice again and again. AFSCME showed up strong to tell the autoworkers “we have your back.”

“The Big Three have been thriving on the backs of their workers for too long,” Saunders said. “This is a struggle about working class people fighting for a fair share, for a decent life, for basic economic security, for the freedom to do more than just scrape by. This is about standing up for our families and communities against corporate greed.”

Saunders and AFSCME members from Council 8, the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA) and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) marched around the Stellantis plant – where UAW members build Jeep Wranglers and Gladiators – lending support to picketers at each gate.

AFSCME isn’t alone in standing with UAW members fighting for a fair deal and a fairer economy. Nearly four out of five Americans support the strikers.

And President Joe Biden has also been clear that he stands with UAW members against corporate greed. Last month, Biden became the first sitting president to ever walk a picket line alongside striking workers. He told them they deserved significant wage increases and urged them to “stick with it.”

Biden isn’t stopping there, though. He’s keeping the economy stable and continuing the fight for working people. As corporate-backed right wing politicians wage war on the benefits we’ve earned, Biden is standing up for Social Security, Medicare, our pensions, and is digging in against corporate greed by cutting prescription drug prices. And he’s undoing years of anti-worker labor rules that made it cheaper and easier for corporations to break the law and hurt workers.