Amidst impending labor contract negotiations, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union has submitted a counterproposal on economic matters to Ford Motor, while Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, is preparing to present its own counteroffer later this week.
As the current four-year labor agreements covering 146,000 workers at the Detroit Three automakers approach their September 14 expiration date, tensions are rising. The UAW has stated that 97% of its members voted in favor of authorizing a strike should an agreement not be reached.
UAW President Shawn Fain expressed frustration, saying, “They chose to follow the same path they have in the past, which is delay, delay. They waited until the last eight days to want to start talking, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Last week, Ford proposed a 9% wage increase through 2027, a far cry from the 46% wage hike sought by the union. General Motors (GM) is expected to submit its proposal on Thursday, according to an anonymous source, though GM has declined to provide specifics. Stellantis announced its intention to provide a counter offer to the UAW regarding the union’s economic demands by the week’s end.
While Ford continues negotiations with the UAW, it has refrained from commenting on the details of the discussions. The UAW recently filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against GM and Stellantis, alleging a lack of good-faith bargaining.
The UAW’s demands encompass a 20% immediate wage increase, followed by four annual 5% wage hikes, defined-benefit pensions for all workers, 32-hour work weeks, and additional cost-of-living adjustments. Additionally, the UAW seeks to make all temporary workers at U.S. automakers permanent employees, enhance profit-sharing, and reinstate retiree health-care benefits and cost-of-living adjustments.
Ford’s stance includes no cap on temporary workers, with these employees not eligible for profit sharing, earning less than 60% of the top wage rate for permanent workers, and receiving lesser health-care benefits.
Ford has proposed an increase in starting pay for temporary workers to $20 an hour, a 20% rise, and offered permanent employees $12,000 in cost-of-living adjustments over the contract’s duration.
Regarding profit sharing, the UAW argued that Ford’s formula change would have resulted in a 21% reduction in payouts over the last two years. In response, Ford offered a $5,500 signing bonus for both permanent and temporary workers upon the contract’s ratification.