Time for the losers and haters to eat crow Ken Klippenstein Oct 6, 2023
On Thursday, The New York Times declared the United Auto Workers' (UAW) president Shawn Fain "a confrontational figure who vilifies the automakers while alarming Wall Street" amid the UAW's strike.
The article, a profile of the newly-elected Fain, went on to describe him as "caustic," "sharp-edged," a "rebel." You get the idea: the stuff that causes monocles to fall to the ground and shatter. (In fairness, the UAW under Fain has become more assertive, as my colleague Dan Boguslaw has amusingly reported — though I think this is just a union functioning like it's supposed to.)
"Fiery words can inspire, but they can also anger," the Times article cautioned. "Now he must prove that his hard-core tactics pay off."
It is now clear, just one day after the Times article was published, that Fain's tactics have paid off. Today, the UAW stunned onlookers with an announcement that it had won a concession so significant that the union wasn't even technically allowed to strike over it. GM has formally agreed to include battery plants in the master contract, extending the benefits of the union contract to the many non-union workers in facilities manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles.
A concession of this magnitude was almost unimaginable just weeks ago and portends well for the future of the strike.
Fiery words can inspire.
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