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OHS Observer

Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

UAW Strike: Another ‘Homestead Strike’ in a Different Century?

Image shows picketers of the UAW on strike in Detroit Michigan, against Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors, The Big Three Automotive Companies of Detroit. (Photo by Adam Schultz / Biden for President)
Image shows picketers of the UAW on strike in Detroit Michigan, against Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors, The Big Three Automotive Companies of Detroit. (Photo by Adam Schultz / Biden for President)

On September 15, 2023, the United Auto Worker (UAW) went on strike against General Motors, Stellantis (Mother company of Jeep and Ram), and Ford for shorter working hours, higher wages, and a safer work environment. Even though we are in the 21st century, laborers are striking for similar reasons as in 1882 when the ‘Homestead Strike’ formed at Carnegie Steel in Homestead, Pennsylvania. The 1882 strike led to a mass murder conducted by the Pinkerton Detectives, who were hired by Carnegie Steel chairman Henry Frick to take down the walkout.The relationship between the two strikes illustrates our failed ability to learn from history and the dangerous tendency to resort to violence as a mechanism for a negative influence to different societies and generations leading to mass destruction in the future societies and civilizations.

 

As Carnegie Steel in 1882 ended with the deaths of every member of the strike, many feared that the UAW strikes might lead to violence among the Workers in Detroit. Unfortunately, this fear was recently realized: on September 26, 2023, 5 picketers were struck by a pickup truck by loyal Stellantis workers, enacting brutal violence and revenge between Stellantis and the picketers. Due to the provocation, the UAW president, Shawn Fain, ordered violence including slashing tires of Ford, GM, and Stellantis-originated vehicles, jumping on vehicles, and following dedicated Stellantis workers home and racially discriminating against them.

 

In defense of the violence that has occurred, Stellantis released a statement quoted in a CBS News article “UAW President Shawn Fain addresses violence against autoworkers on the picket line”:

We are appalled by the UAW’s characterization of the incidents occurring on the picket lines. Since the UAW expanded its strike to our parts distribution centers last Friday, we’ve witnessed an escalation of dangerous, and even violent, behavior by UAW picketers at several of those facilities, including slashing truck tires, jumping on vehicles, following people home and hurling racial slurs at dedicated Stellantis employees who are merely crossing the picket line to do their jobs. 

 

On September 29, 2023, Shawn Fain announced on X.com the next targets for victims of the UAW strikers’ revenge. The statement on X.com informed us of the violence that did not let down and that has continued towards a point of danger and has including numerous deaths in January and April of 2024 as violence from strikers become widely spread across Michigan.

 

The Strike teaches students, not only at Stanford OHS, but in other schools as well, that violence is not the solution to any problem. During the Homestead Strike, violence solved the problem of strikers but created new obstacles that affected Carnegie Steel, causing the company to bend and hide from the media, as well losing many workers at the plant in Pennsylvania. This caused many problems and a financial loss for Carnegie Steel. The UAW as well teaches of the problems of violence. Problems could be solved using reasoning and negotiation instead of violence, affecting many workers and the manufacturers in Detroit.

 

Since September 2023 to May 2024, UAW workers have been pursuing the automobile companies in demand for fewer hours, more wages, and a safer environment. It is unknown whether the manufacturers will listen, how long the strikes will last, and how much violence and destruction Detroit will face over the coming periods of strike. All that can be certain is that the UAW is on strike, the manufacturers are not giving in to their demands, and that violence has begun, carrying on a new era of the “Homestead Strike” in the 21st century which could amass to the destruction of  lives and the three biggest motor companies of America.

 

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