Detroit Free Press, USA Today: Marick Masters on the importance of organizing auto companies outside of Detroit
More than 3,600 hourly workers at Mack Trucks Inc., in Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania went out on strike at six plants at 11:59 p.m. Saturday seeking “fair pay and benefits," the UAW confirmed early Sunday. This strike comes in the middle of a national strike of 46,000 UAW members striking General Motors in 10 states and 55 locations. The GM strike, which began Sept. 16, has dragged on so long that Wall Street has suggested it could harm the automaker's credit rating if not resolved soon. Talks in Detroit after four weeks of picketing are said to be making progress. The UAW also called a strike of 850 maintenance workers employed by Aramark at five GM sites in Michigan and Ohio. That strike started 24 hours before autoworkers went out. Organizing companies outside Detroit, especially international auto companies and battery makers, is essential to growth and strength of the UAW, said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University who specializes in labor management. "That's where the future of the UAW really lies." He noted, "One-third of the autoworkers in the U.S. work for these foreign-based companies. That excludes Fiat. But whatever they negotiate in Detroit, the UAW has to package up and sell to workers at nonunion transplants and these other places. If they want to maintain strength with the Detroit Three."