On Friday, September 15, 12,700 members of the United Auto Workers union (UAW) walked off the job at plants owned by the “Big Three” automakers—Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (which owns Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram). The walkout marked the beginning of a series of long-expected targeted strikes aiming to give the UAW leverage as it renegotiates contracts with the three companies.
The strike is grounded in frustrations over worker compensation. Union members and their supporters point to high profits and CEO pay at the Big Three and compare them to stagnant wages and rising costs of living among autoworkers. They feel like they’re being ripped off.
And they’re right. Like the rest of the working class, autoworkers are being ripped off. Decades of interventionism have built an economic system that harms workers while helping the corporate and political classes. The first reason for this is monetary policy. Ever since President Richard Nixon abolished the gold standard in the early 1970s, a handful of bureaucrats at the Federal Reserve have been charged with determining the value of our currency. And those bureaucrats have decided that the dollar should lose value every year. They aim for a decline of 2 percent annually, but the rate has been higher in recent years.