UPS and Autoworkers Are Inspiring a Wave of Worker Militancy. Who’s Next?

Teddy Ostrow
Ruby Walsh

The Big Three fell like a house of cards.

The UAW’s historic Stand-Up strike ended — for now, at least. After 44 days on the picket line, the Auto Workers have reached tentative agreements with each of the Big Three automakers. GM was the last domino to fall on Saturday, October 28, just days after Ford and then Stellantis acquiesced to their own tentative deals.

50,000 strikers have returned to work, and all 146,000 Big Three union members are now voting on the contracts. While it’s up to the workers to decide whether the deals are adequate, one thing is already clear: the UAW has turned the tide on decades of concessionary bargaining.

For this episode, we invited Barry Eidlin back on the show to unpack the gains and wider implications of the UAW’s tentative agreements. Barry Eidlin is an associate professor of sociology at McGill University, who studies class, labor, politics and social movements. He is the author of Labor and the Class Idea in the United States and Canada, published by Cambridge University Press in 2018.

We explore why the agreements may represent a shift toward a ​“new kind of unionism,” how the UAW’s prospects for organizing the rest of the auto industry may have changed, and what listeners should be following in the rest of the labor movement.

The transcript for this podcast is included with the original article.

This is a segment of a blog and podcast that originally appeared in full at In These Times on Nov. 10, 2023. Republished with permission.

About the Authors:

  • Teddy Ostrow is a journalist from Brooklyn covering labor and economics. He is the host of The Upsurge podcast and his work has appeared in The NationThe New Republic, and elsewhere.
  • Ruby Walsh is an audio producer from Brooklyn. She is a co-producer of The Upsurge podcast and a development producer for Giant Grin LLC. Formerly, she was the associate producer of Moyers on Democracy and wrote for Bill​Moy​ers​.com.
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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.