Denver, CO – On Friday, September 29, United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 186, along with the AFL-CIO and other unions, held a rally at the Chrysler/Stellantis Parts Distribution Center where workers have been holding a picket line for the past week – since the auto workers strike expanded to the two Denver facilities.
The nationwide strike began on September 14, after the contract between the UAW and Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis expired. The UAW had previously voted by an overwhelming majority to strike against these “Big Three” automakers if they were not offered wages that would keep up with inflation.
Workers from several other unions joined the rally in solidarity with the striking auto workers, including members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, and Starbucks Workers United. Members of these unions took turns leading chants such as “What’s outrageous? Poverty wages!” and “The unions, united, will never be defeated!”
Valerie Soto, a UAW strike captain, spoke to attendees about the union’s demands of the Big Three, explaining how years of concessions had resulted in wages that haven’t kept up with inflation, as well as a two-tier wage system that underpays newer workers. Soto declared, “We sacrificed to save the company, and now it’s time for them to pay us back. We are fighting to take back what was taken from us.”
Many attendees at the rally expressed the need for continued solidarity and support of the strikers. “Workers are stronger when we organize together, and we saw many different unions come support the pickets because we all realize that a victory for one worker is a victory for all workers,” said Keegan Estrella, a rank-and-file Teamster.
Workers held up signs that said, “UAW on strike,” “Record profits, record contracts,” and “United for a strong contract – end tiers” along the side of the road leading to the distribution center, where they received a steady flow of passersby honking in support. Spirits were high during the rally, with UAW members stating they were prepared to continue the strike until their demands were met.