Sep 17, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Sanders backs UAW, calls on U.S. to stand up against "corporate greed"

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks at a United Auto Workers rally Friday in Detroit. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stood behind the United Auto Workers strike Sunday and said thousands of UAW employees are standing up to America's "corporate greed."

What he's saying: "What you're seeing in the automobile industry, in my view, is what we're seeing all over this economy — greed on the top, suffering on the part of the working class — and people are tired of it," Sanders told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union".

  • Sanders, who rallied with automobile workers Friday in Detroit, called on the country to "stand with the UAW now."
  • Sanders said UAW workers are standing up to a kind of "corporate greed" that is "impacting tens and tens of millions of Americans" in addition to fighting for "decent wages and benefits" for automobile workers.

Catch up quick: The strike began Friday at factories in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri.

  • This is the first time the UAW has targeted General Motors, Ford and Stellantis at once.
  • A 36% wage increase over four years, better benefits and certain protections as automakers shift toward electric vehicles are among the demands workers have made.
  • According to the UAW, wages haven't kept up with inflation. Starting pay at the three automakers ranges between $18 and $32 dollars an hour, depending on seniority, for full-time workers, according to the Washington Post. That range, the union says, is around $10 lower than what it should be given the inflation rate since 2007.

Flashback: Wage increases have only recently started to beat inflation.

  • Real wage growth turned positive as inflation eased slightly, revealing the narrowing gap between the two.
  • Auto companies are also making huge profits despite a decrease in new car sales.
  • "You have profits there, $21 billion in profits in the first half of this year," Sanders said Sunday in reference to the combined profits of General Motors, Ford and Stellantis.
  • "You people on top, you've never had it so good," Sanders added, noting that there is more wealth inequality today than ever before in U.S. history.

Go deeper: UAW launches unprecedented strike against GM, Ford and Stellantis

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