UAW on Strike: 'Our Fight Is a Righteous Fight' - The Friday AM Quickie 9/15/23

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3 Factories, 13,000 Workers: UAW Strike Begins

For the first time ever, United Auto Workers members are going on strike against all Big Three U.S. automakers at the same time. Minutes after the union's contract expired at 11:59pm last night, nearly 13,000 workers walked off the job at the GM assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, the Stellantis complex in Toledo, Ohio, and a portion of the Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan.

"This strategy will keep the companies guessing. It will give our national negotiators maximum leverage and flexibility in bargaining," UAW president Shawn Fain said on a live stream last night. "And if we need to go all out, we will. Everything is on the table. ... We must show the world that our fight is a righteous fight."

Wayne State University business professor Marick Masters says the limited start to the strike "give[s] the companies some space without putting them up against the wall." Per NBC News, it also allows the union to maximize its $825 million strike fund, which will pay workers $500 per week while they're on the picket line. Fain says all 146,000 UAW members should be prepared to join the strike at a moment's notice, putting maximum pressure on employers to meet the union's desired contract terms, which include 36 percent pay raises over four years and future cost-of-living adjustments.

President Joe Biden spoke with Fain, as well as the three car company CEOs, yesterday. Politico reports that the administration sees Fain as a "as a less establishment-oriented labor leader" and a wild card who is not looking for an off-ramp. Biden aides worry the UAW strike "could alter perceptions of the president as a champion of organized labor." Seems to me that's up to Biden. But many Congressional Democrats are more vocally supportive of the union and critical of the automakers. Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders may be traveling to Detroit today to stand with the striking workers. Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin calls the UAW position "reasonable when you consider that the CEOs and executives at these automakers have made 40 percent more over the recent period of time and the workers have been increased 6 percent."

Meanwhile in California, Hollywood studio bosses say they will resume bargaining with striking writers next week, though no talks are yet scheduled with striking actors. Democrats in the state legislature passed a bill yesterday to grant unemployment benefits to striking workers after two weeks, and all eyes are on Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has yet to say whether he will sign the bill or veto it. "One has to be cautious," says Newsom, who wants to run for president some day. As the song goes, Which Side Are You On?

House GOP Barrells Toward Another Shutdown

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who barely squeaked in to the role, is still having a hard time leading his party. The New York Times reports that he "surrender[ed] to the far right" yesterday by yanking a Pentagon spending bill, in a sign that the caucus is pushing for another government shutdown at the end of this month. Politico notes that the "typically affable McCarthy" lost his cool at a conference meeting yesterday, daring members to oust him from leadership by saying "if you think you scare me because you want to file a motion to vacate, move the f*cking motion." The Washington Post says McCarthy is "struggling to govern" and quotes his fellow Republicans dismissing the impeachment inquiry he launched against President Joe Biden as "a shiny object" to distract from his many failures as a leader. I'm perfectly happy for House Republicans to have a big loser in charge, so keep at it, Kevin, you're doing great!

Ron DeSantis Golf Junkets May Have Been Illegal

The Washington Post reports that the Guantanamo Bay torture overseer-turned-floundering fascist Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis failed to disclose extensive luxury travel provided by campaign donors, in possible violation of state ethics and campaign finance rules. The trips, the Post says, "reflect how DeSantis fueled his political rise through close bonds with rich patrons and had a taste for luxury travel, in contrast to his campaign's portrayal of DeSantis's humble blue-collar roots and aversion to moneyed interests. ...

The trips came during the period between DeSantis's election and inauguration as governor. On one, DeSantis traveled to the prestigious Augusta National Golf Club on a plane owned by Mori Hosseini, a major home builder who supplied a golf simulator in the governor's mansion and later benefited from $92 million in federal pandemic funding that the DeSantis administration steered to a highway interchange project he sought."

DeSantis' campaign responds that "he has always fought back against the establishment and won," and essentially blames a former aide who now works for Donald Trump's campaign for this story coming out. Nothing screams "fighting the establishment" like a free night at the Augusta National's Eisenhower room!


  • Hunter Biden Indicted on Federal Gun Charges Lawyers for the president's son argue that an earlier plea deal remains in place and blame "MAGA Republicans' improper and partisan interference in this process" for bringing the charges of lying about his drug use on a purchase form, a crime experts say almost never gets prosecuted. via the Associated Press.
  • Water Dispute Leads Dominican Republic to Close Border with Haiti "A border closure would essentially lock Haitians within their country amid extreme levels of violence, including large-scale killings, kidnappings and rapes, and with much of the population struggling to feed their families or access clean water and health care," a Human Rights Watch official says. via the Washington Post.
  • Wisconsin Republicans Vote to Fire Elections Official Trump Blamed for His 2020 Loss Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called the dismissal of Meagan Wolfe, the nonpartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator, an unlawful effort "to sow distrust and disinformation about our elections." via the New York Times.
  • Justin Trudeau Warns Grocery Chains to Cut Prices or Else the Government Will "Large grocery chains are making record profits," the Canadian prime minister said yesterday. "Those profits should not be made on the backs of people who are struggling to feed their families." via the Canadian Press.



That's how much of Alex Jones' $93,000 in personal spending for a single month this summer went toward entertainment and meals, not including groceries, the Associated Press reports. Lawyers for the families of victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, who won a $1.5 billion judgment against the Infowars host last year, have asked a bankruptcy judge to appoint a trustee to oversee Jones' spending so they can start collecting from him.


9/15: It's Casual Friday! Sam speaks with David Dayen, executive editor at The American Prospect, to round up the week in news.


Why Conservatives Hate Democracy

Emma talks with Matthew Dallek, author of "Birchers: How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right."

Walter Isaacson's new biography of the obnoxious billionaire apparently doesn't even mention the fact that Musk was running a segregated factory in Fremont, California.


"'I got a new strap-on harness today. I can't wait to put it on you. It will fit my favorite dildo perfectly. You're going to look so hot.'"

-- Republican Sen. John Neely Kennedy of Louisiana, 71, reading a passage from "Gender Queer: A Memoir," into the Congressional record during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this week. The Washington Post interviewed author Maia Kobabe about Kennedy's selective misreading of the the coming-of-age comic book.

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