August Newsletter: Big 3 Bargaining, Region 6 Slack, EVs, & More!

Hot labor summer continues, with contract campaigns, political action, new organizing, solidarity actions, and more growing around the region. As with everything we do as a union and a labor movement, what we’re able to achieve is a direct function of how many members are actively participating to build power at every level. Keep reading to learn more about ongoing work and how you can plug in.

Big 3 Negotiations: Build Power for Record Contracts! 

The contract campaign for UAW members at the Big 3 – Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis – is ramping up, with contracts expiring on September 14. Regardless of what sector you’re in, your action is needed to build the power to win record contracts auto workers deserve.

The Big 3 auto companies have made a quarter of a trillion dollars in profits in the past decade. In the first 6 months of 2023, they made $21 billion. Record profits should mean record wages for the auto workers who make the companies run. Despite this, the Big 3 have made no movement on a number of key areas in bargaining, including fair pay. This month, autoworkers across the country voted 97% to authorize a strike should circumstances warrant. Here in Region 6, Big 3 members of Locals 76, 230, 492, 509, 2162, and 6645 continue building member engagement and strike readiness plans. 


  1. Sign on: Sign the ‘All In’ with UAW petition and share with your colleagues and on social media.
  2. Pledge solidarity: Sign the Region 6 Solidarity Pledge to get connected with other UAW members in your area and coordinate turnout to actions and picket lines should a strike be necessary.
  3. Rally in Region 6: Members in Southern California, plan to attend the Region 6 Big 3 rally on September 9 in Fontana, CA. For more info & to RSVP, check out the Facebook event

More information and news coverage:

  1. “The United Auto Workers are redefining what is possible for US labor” (featuring Local 230 President Jesse Ramirez) 
  2. Fox 11 (Los Angeles) interview with Region 6 Director Mike Miller on the contract negotiations, what a potential strike would mean, and winning a just transition to electric vehicles  
  3. Educational Justice Town Hall in support of Autoworkers, including UAW, UTLA, CTU Local 1, AFT, Teamsters, UNITE HERE, SAG-AFTRA, and more. Check out the recording here.
  4. Sign on letter of over 30 climate justice organizations in support of members’ demands in bargaining, and town hall focused on the need for green jobs to be union jobs.  

Stay Connected: Join the Region 6 Slack and the Communications Committee

Stemming from conversations among Region 6 Big 3 members about increasing regional communication and coordination as the contract campaign escalates, we are starting a UAW Region 6 Slack. Slack is an instant messaging platform that can facilitate quick, regular communication between members. You can download the free app to use on your phone, tablet, or computer (Mac, Android). The Region 6 Slack is open to all active & retired UAW Region 6 members, as well as workers on active organizing campaigns in Region 6. 

For more information and to get added to the Slack, fill out this short form. 

Once you fill out the form, you will receive more information, including information about how to download & use Slack. In addition, for regular updates and information, check out Region 6 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Threads (@uawregion6), and our website. The Region 6 Education & Communications Committee will be convening soon, and is open to all members. To join, fill out this short form

New Organizing

  1. After reaching a strong agreement on bargaining unit definition earlier this month, Graduate Workers at University of Alaska now officially have dates for their representation election! Voting will take place from October 13-26. 

Contract Campaigns & Enforcement

  1. In addition to Big 3 bargaining, a number of contract campaigns across the region are ongoing, with members working over the summer to engage colleagues, develop escalation strategies, and build power to win - including Academic Student Employees of Local 4123 at Cal State University, Graduate Student Workers at University of Southern California, Academic Student Employees at Washington State University, and non-profit workers of Local 2013 at Mother Jones
  2. Since their recent election wins earlier this summer, Graduate Fellows at Pardee RAND and Educational Student Employees at Western Washington University are ramping up to start bargaining their first contracts. 
  3. Casino Workers across multiple units of Local 3555 in Las Vegas begin bargaining new contracts on September 1. 
  4. The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued an official complaint against the UC system on six counts related to retaliation earlier this summer. Members of Local 2865 & 5810 continue organizing to demand that the Regents drop the charges and fully implement the contracts they agreed to. 

Political & Community Action

  1. This month, we joined labor unions across California, Senator Anthony Portantino, Senator Maria Elena Durazo, and Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) on new priority legislation SB 799 that would make striking workers eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. 
  2. UAW Region 6’s sponsored bill SB 322 (Becker) to create workforce standards for battery manufacturing funding in California is on the way to the Assembly Floor! Next up, the California Assembly. 
  3. Members in California met with Congressional Representatives Josh Harder, Katie Porter, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee, and discussed supporting UAW members in Big 3 negotiations, and in the event of a potential strike. 
  4. At the August Western States CAP/PAC meeting, members voted to contribute $5000 to Chef Hui and to $5000 Kako'o Maui Fund to support mutual aid to the people of Hawai‘i to help recover from the disaster of the recent wildfires. Please help circulate these mutual aid opportunities to your union siblings and contribute if you can.
  5. Locals 2865 and 5810 were awarded the Orange County Labor Federation’s Organizing Union of the Year award for their historic strike and contract campaign, and ongoing organizing to fight retaliation. In addition, Local 4121 won the Washington State Labor Council’s 2023 Power to the People Award for outstanding political activism, new organizing campaigns, and winning strong first contracts. 

Message from Region 6 Director Mike Miller

Dear Region 6 Family,

Big 3 negotiations are in full swing! President Fain; Vice Presidents Booth, Boyer, and Browning; and the elected National Negotiating Committees are doing a great job involving members in bargaining in new and creative ways. The strike vote results are inspiring and put the Big 3 on notice that UAW members are ready to walk the walk. Not only are we fighting to eliminate tiers, win COLA, and claim our fair share of the quarter of a trillion dollars in profits reaped by the Big 3 in the last nine years, but we’re fighting to make the transition to an electric vehicle future a just one! 

One battle in this war is bargaining over the contract at Ultium Cells–a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solutions–that manufactures EV cells for GM at the former GM plant in Lordstown Ohio. Not only is GM hiding behind the joint venture to weasel out of providing Ultium workers the same rights and compensation as under the GM-UAW Agreement, but there are serious health and safety problems at the plant. There are similar concerns at other so-called joint ventures between the Big 3 and battery manufacturers that are coming to the fore in Big 3 bargaining, as detailed in this article

UAW researchers  estimate that more than 20 major automotive battery plants across 14 states have either been announced or begun production, with the potential to hire between 1,000 to 3,000 workers each. One such plant – Sparkz – is in California, just outside Sacramento. So far, Sparkz has agreed to work with UAW, and we have a card check and neutrality agreement for when production starts (currently planned for March/April 2024). The Sparkz-UAW collaboration promises to put the rights of battery workers on the “high road” to the EV transition – one in which workers and the company work together through collective bargaining to produce EV batteries that power a just and sustainable future for everyone, not just the company’s shareholders as is currently the case with the Big 3 and their joint ventures. We look forward to working with Sparkz on such a transition. 

Finally, to the higher ed members in Region 6, welcome to the new Academic Year. Here’s to making it even better than last year for workers!

As always, if you have questions or feedback, please shoot me an email.


Upcoming Events & Conferences 

  1. Save the date for the Region 6 Political Action Conference, November 11-12 in Los Angeles! Be on the lookout for the call letter with more information, coming soon. 
  2. The Region 6 Retirees Conference will be September 5-6. Note that due to the ongoing UNITE HERE strike, the conference has been moved to the Region 6 office in Pico Rivera, CA. 
  3. The Region 6 Education & Communication Conference will be October 7-8 in Los Angeles. The call letter will be sent out this week - check in with your Local for more information. 
  4. The 22nd Biennial Convention of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) will be held on November 5-12. The registration deadline is October 1. Contact your Local for more information. 
  5. For more upcoming events & meetings, check out the Region 6 Calendar

Across the Labor Movement 

  1. Locals 2865 & 5810 hosted a cross-union Solidarity Town Hall with panelists from Local 509, Local 4121, Local 6645, WGA West, WGA East, SAG-AFTRA, and UNITE HERE Local 11 discussing how we can support each other’s labor actions.  
  2. Members of Locals 492, 509, 2865, 4123, and 5810 attended the 2023 UAW Women’s Conference and hosted a fireside chat with nearly 100 UAW members around the country discussing strategies for building the power to win on gender equity demands in bargaining. 
  3. UAW Postdocs at Columbia (Local 4100) and Mount Sinai are building power together to win strong contracts, and recently concluded decisive strike authorization votes (98% yes at Columbia and 91% yes at Mount Sinai).  
  4. UAW workers at Ultium Cells (EV battery manufacturer) voted to ratify an interim agreement including significant pay increases and back pay. This is a huge win in their ongoing fight to win a full contract, and in the overall fight to ensure the transition to electric vehicles is just for workers. 
  5. Fellows at NIH made huge progress in their unionization fight, and successfully pressured management to agree to set dates for a union representation election – despite management’s initial position that fellows did not even count as employees. 
  6. UAW members joined thousands of fellow union members from around the country for the 2023 APALA Convention in Seattle.
  7. As part of their ongoing strike, SAG-AFTRA held a national day of action, with union members and community supporters coming together at many locations across the country in solidarity. 
  8. Today, United Farm Workers mushroom workers in Washington are holding a pre-Labor Day action establishing a mile-long human billboard line to call for union recognition.