Keith Brower Brown

California’s solar power plants now rival the scale of any in the world. What stands out most is how they were built: under union contracts.

Across the U.S., nearly 90 percent of solar workers had no union last year. In California, the situation was different—at least on paper. The vast majority of its solar power plants have been wrenched in place by unionized construction workers.

On breaks between harnessing wires and bolting fenders, Auto Workers across the country are debating the contract offers their strike wrenched out of Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.

Just a fraction of plants have voted, with the rest set to cast ballots in the next two weeks. Contract details are here.

Despite Intimidation, Union Voices Get Louder for Ceasefire in Gaza


In the U.S. and across the world, hundreds of thousands of people have taken the streets to protest Israel’s assault on Gaza, which has killed at least 8,300 Palestinians, including 3,300 children, since October 7. On October 27, the United Nations called for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce.”

In the U.S., those protesting Israel’s attacks have faced a wave of repression by employers.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra started her day boasting to company investors how much car sales and revenues have recently climbed.

Two hours later, Auto Workers reminded her who made those revenues happen. The Auto Workers (UAW) struck GM’s most profitable plant, the massive Arlington Assembly, just outside Dallas.

The highest stakes of the United Auto Workers’ strike could be for workers not yet hired, at plants not yet built.

In the last few weeks, the Stand-Up Strike has wrenched breakthrough offers out of all three automakers—Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis—that will have big implications for the transition to electric vehicles (EVs).

Moving beyond the dead-end job security strategies of the past—concessions and corporate partnership—the union is digging footholds to fight for an electric future on workers’ terms.

Every Friday for the past four weeks, Big 3 CEOs have waited fearfully for Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain to announce which plants will strike next.

But without warning on Wednesday afternoon, the union threw a haymaker: within 10 minutes the UAW would be shutting down the vast Kentucky Truck Plant.

This plant, on 500 acres outside Louisville, is one of Ford’s most profitable—cranking out full-size SUVs and the Superduty line of commercial trucks.

The 18,000 Auto Workers on strike have lit up the labor movement. But the strike is only the most visible side of auto workers’ leverage.

The less visible side is on the shop floor, where organized refusals of voluntary overtime have shut down multiple lines and whole factories for entire weekends since the strike began.

Only 13,000 of 146,000 auto workers at the Big 3 companies are on strike, so far. But others still on the job are turning up the heat by refusing voluntary overtime.

At all three companies—Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis—Auto Workers (UAW) members have told Labor Notes about overtime refusals. Many Big 3 plants are hugely dependent on overtime to make up for understaffing.

The strike is on. Last night the Auto Workers (UAW) shut down three major assembly plants at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler). It’s the first time in history the union has struck all three companies at once.

September 14: This article has been updated to identify the plants where workers will strike on day one.

The Auto Workers (UAW) strike, which the union is dubbing the "Stand Up Strike," could be a turning point for the U.S. labor movement—and all of us across the movement can lend a hand to help the strikers win.

Cross-union solidarity can turn up the heat on the Big 3 to end tiers and make green jobs good jobs. It can also boost strikers’ morale and build connections that endure for years to come.