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American car workers have recently threatened to expand strikes in Detroit, Michigan, to protest the understaffing of factories and the continual erosion of wages.
The expansion of the strikes was announced as part of the overwhelming response to a survey initiated by union officials late last month, which asked car workers to share their opinions of their current working conditions. The survey found that 79% of the workers responded that they felt “unsafe and alone” in their workplaces and that 92% of respondents felt that there were “unreasonable demands” on wages and benefits.
The union officials have stated that the current shortage of trained workers in Detroit is due to companies’ failure to hire and retain younger workers. They argue that companies are placing too much emphasis on a traditional “old boys club” model of hiring, which often favors men and less qualified candidates over experienced and trained applicants.
The union officials further accused companies of failing to “invest in their workforce” and to offer improved wages, benefits, and job security. With the strikes, the union hopes to draw attention to the fact that such issues need to change in order for the Detroit car industry to stay competitive in the global market.
The Detroit Strikes have also garnered an outpouring of support from auto workers across the country. Union representatives from other states have discussed the need for better wages and benefits for auto workers as well as the importance of providing job security.
As the Detroit Strikes continue, it is clear that the workers are taking a stand for not only better wages and benefits, but for a basic set of rights for auto workers everywhere. It remains to be seen how the companies will respond, but it is certain that the attention of the American public has been captured.