8:37 a.m. ET, September 16, 2023
Are you catching up on the UAW strike? This is what you need to know
From CNN’s Chris Isidore, Vanessa Yurkevich and Elisabeth Buchwald
time is up for avoid a strike against America’s unionized automakers.
Auto Workers United The contracts expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday. The contracts covered 145,000 UAW members at the three companies: General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, which makes Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Chrysler brand vehicles for North America.
By failing to reach an agreement by the expiration of the contract, the union said it has launched targeted attacks against three installations, one in each company.
Here’s what you should know now that the strike has begun:
Where have workers abandoned work?
Shawn Fain, president of the UAW Announced that workers at a GM plant in Wentzville, Missouri; a Stellantis plant in Toledo, Ohio; and a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan, would go on strike. Workers abandoned their jobs there and picketed outside the plants Friday morning.
It may not take much to virtually shut down production at all companies. They operate a complex network of plants that depend on sourcing parts from different facilities.
Reducing or stopping production of a few engine or transmission plants at each company could be as effective as stop operations like a total strike in all plants, according to sector experts.
Key numbers that motivate UAW members:
$32.32: The hourly wage of most UAW members at GM, Ford and Stellantis
$18: The starting salary of a UAW worker
$15: The starting salary for temporary workers.
Those salaries have not been adjusted for inflation, which has increased significantly over the past two years.
Will automakers negotiate?
According to their latest reports, Ford and GM are now offering a 20% increase over the life of the contract, and Stellantis is offering 17.5%. The union began with a demand for an immediate 20% and four additional increases of 5% each over the course of a four-year agreement.
Maria Barra, CEO of GM sent a letter to employees on Thursday saying the company’s latest offer now includes a 20% raise, with an immediate 10% pay increase. The lowest-paid temporary employees would receive $20 an hour, a 20% increase from the current $16.67 they receive.
Jim Farley, CEO of Ford He told CNN that an offer from Ford of a 20% raise over the life of the contract is the most lucrative offer the company has made to the union in the 80 years it has been there. But he said meeting the union’s demands for a raise close to 40%, along with a four-day work week and other benefit improvements, would have been unaffordable.
Farley blamed the union for the lack of progress in negotiations. But the union has blamed the companies for waiting until late August or early September to submit their first counteroffers.
Anger increases with Stellantis:
Stellantis is making greater use of lower-paid temporary workers than other automakers. Eliminating or at least limiting the use of temporary workers is an important issue for the union.
And there is even more anger against Stellantis after former company executives were caught giving bribes to former union officials, says Art Wheaton, director of labor studies at the school of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in Buffalo.
Many of the members who are angry about the corruption scandal that resulted in the imprisonment of two recent UAW presidents are also angry at Stellantis.