WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), along with 31 of their colleagues in the Senate, introduced a resolution today in solidarity with 150,000 members of United Auto Workers (UAW) bargaining for a fair contract, with 34,000 currently on strike.
One of the largest U.S. strikes in the past three decades, autoworkers voted to go on strike in September – calling for a fair share of the record-breaking profits their labor produces as well as cost-of-living adjustments, an end to two-tier wage system, and restoration of pension benefits. Since then, the strike has expanded to 44 locations across 22 states.
“Autoworkers are like so many other American workers, who have seen wages stagnate for decades even as their productivity has continued to rise,” said Cardin. “These workers deserve a greater share of the wealth they have produced, in the form of higher wages, better health care, and access to a dignified retirement. That’s what these strikes are about. It’s time to stop the squeeze on the middle class.
“The fight the UAW is waging has everything to do with the outrageous level of corporate greed and arrogance on the part of senior executives in the automobile industry and their backers on Wall Street,” said Sanders. “At a time when the Big 3 automakers have made $250 billion in profits over the past decade, it is absolutely unacceptable that wages for the average autoworker have gone down by 30 percent in the past 20 years after adjusting for inflation. If these companies could afford to spend $9 billion on stock buybacks and dividends last year, they can afford to sign a contract that treats their workers with the respect and the dignity that they deserve. Enough is enough. The time has come for the United States Senate to go on record in support of UAW workers and against corporate greed. That is what this resolution is all about.”
“We stand in solidarity with autoworkers in Ohio and around the country as they demand the Big 3 automakers respect the work they do to make these companies successful. Any union family knows that a strike is always a last resort – autoworkers want to be on the job, not on the picket line,” said Brown. “UAW workers made sacrifices to save the American auto industry. Now the Big 3 are making record profits – all workers are asking for is their fair share. These companies need to bargain in good faith and agree to a fair contract that honors the Dignity of Work.”
Sanders and Brown were joined on the resolution by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).