HomeBusinessUAW leaders and automakers return to negotiating table

UAW leaders and automakers return to negotiating table

Like the United Auto Workers union strike against the Big Three automakers entered its second day, the parties returned to the negotiating table on Saturday.

The UAW said it had “reasonably productive conversations with Ford today.” The union will also meet with GM.

About 12,700 UAW members (about 8 percent of the union’s auto workers) are striking at a Stellantis plant in Toledo, a General Motors plant in Wentzville, Missouri, and a Ford plant. Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. Additionally, 2,600 GM and Ford workers who are not on strike will be temporarily laid off in the coming days, the auto companies warned, because those facilities depend on work from plants that are on strike.

The union and the companies remain far apart on wages and benefits in their weeks-long contract negotiations, with the union demanding a 36 percent wage increase over four years. On Saturday, Stellantis, the parent company of Jeep and Chrysler, saying offers a cumulative 21 percent pay increase over the course of a new contract, a proposal he made on Thursday, before the strike began. Ford and GM have offered 20 percent increases.

Why UAW workers say they are on strike

The UAW continues to keep its strike plans secret. Asked Friday night whether it might attack more plants, UAW President Shawn Fain said that depended on the outcome of negotiations.

“As things progress or not, we will make decisions as a board or as a union, and we will take the next step,” Fain said after a rally in Detroit on Friday night. “It could be in a day, it could be in a week. It just depends on how things progress.”

He added that the union would “take care of the laid-off employees,” although he did not elaborate on whether they would be entitled to strike compensation. The UAW pays striking workers $500 a week.

in a statement On Saturday morning, Fain said the union will ensure that laid-off workers “are not left without income.” He accused the companies of trying to “pressure our members to settle for less.”

GM and Ford said the layoffs were a direct consequence of the strike, which is depriving non-striking plants of materials. The laid-off workers will not be entitled to the usual unemployment benefits that companies pay when they shut down one of their plants, both companies said. GM said this was because they were working on an expired contract.

“We have repeatedly said that no one wins from a strike and that the effects go far beyond our employees at the plant and negatively impact our customers, suppliers and the communities where we do business,” GM said in a statement Friday.

It is the first time the union has launched a strike of any size at all three companies at the same time. The last national auto strike was against GM in 2019.

The auto worker strikes that changed America

The Stellantis plant in Toledo makes Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator. G.M. Wentzville Plant It makes Chevrolet Colorado trucks and Express trucks, as well as GMC Canyon trucks and Savana trucks. ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne it makes Ranger trucks and Bronco SUVs.

Fain has called the companies’ offers inadequate after years of high inflation and huge corporate profits. He also points to the large pay increases auto industry CEOs received during the just-expired auto workers contract, which was signed in 2019.

GM CEO Mary Barra’s compensation grew 34 percent between 2019 and 2022, to $29 million last year. The Ford CEO’s salary grew 21 percent during that period, to $21 million last year. Stellantis, based in the Netherlands and formed through the 2021 merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s Peugeot SA, did not exist when the deal began. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares earned about $25 million last year, including long-term incentives.

Full-time UAW workers earn between $18 and $32 an hour, plus profit-sharing payments and other bonuses. During the four years of the just-expired contract, full-time workers were “eligible” to receive total profit-sharing payments of $44,700, Stellantis said Saturday. Ford says its average full-time employee received $75,000 in profit-sharing payments over the past ten years.

Temporary workers They earn lower hourly wages, about $16 to $19 per hour, and are not eligible for profit sharing or other bonuses. And they are often stuck in temporary status for years. Companies have proposed increasing their starting wages to $20 an hour. Ford has proposed converting all existing temporary workers to full-time within 90 days.

Automakers argue they are offering better pay increases and benefits than they have in decades. Ford considers its offering the best in 80 years. Barra said on Friday CBS News that the company’s offer is “a record from a gross salary perspective in our 115-year history.”

But he said GM cannot meet all of the union’s demands while remaining profitable. Those demands include a 32-hour work week, defined benefit pensions for all workers instead of 401(k) accounts, and company-funded retirement health care.

Lauren K. Gurley contributed reporting from Detroit.

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