Workers at the auto parts factory, Great Lakes Autoworks, have been striking for the past two weeks in an effort to end the company’s system of paying different wages for the same job. The workers, who make cars for major automakers including Ford, Honda, Kia, and GM, argue that the pay disparity is unfair and hurts their ability to earn a livable wage.
Under the current system, workers at the factory are separated into two groups: production workers and skilled trade workers. Production workers do unskilled labor jobs such as putting parts together, while skilled trade workers are responsible for technical tasks such as wiring. While both sets of workers do the same job, the skilled trade workers are paid significantly more than production workers.
The striking workers have been demanding that Great Lakes Autoworks end this system so that all workers are paid equitably. They are also demanding raises, and an end to the company’s exploitative overtime policy.
Great Lakes Autoworks has faced similar demands in the past. In 2016, the company agreed to end its two-tier pay system, though it maintained a small pay difference between production and skilled trade workers.
The recent strike at the factory has been gaining attention from labor advocacy groups and politicians. Even members of the United Automobile Workers have joined the striking workers in their call for a wage increase and an end to discrimination in the workplace.
The striking workers are hopeful that they will be able to sway Great Lakes Autoworks and demand fair working conditions. If they are successful, it will be a win for all factory workers and a move towards a more equitable working environment.