Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023
    United Auto Workers Threaten to Expand Strikes Unless Progress is Made in Negotiations

    The United Auto Workers (UAW) has announced that it will expand its strikes at the Detroit automakers if “serious progress” is not made in negotiations. The strikes, which began on September 15, have continued for the fourth consecutive day, affecting major automakers such as General Motors (GM), Ford Motor Company, and Stellantis NV.

    UAW President Shawn Fain expressed the union’s frustration, stating that unless the Big Three automakers actively engage in negotiations, more locals will be called upon to join the strike. The UAW claims that no new offers have been made by the automakers since September 14, when the union presented its proposals just before the strike began.

    While Stellantis, the maker of Jeep and Chrysler models, issued a bargaining update on September 16, it was reportedly not a new offer but a response to the UAW’s proposal. Stellantis has stated that it is offering nearly a 21% pay raise and is committed to finding a solution for its idled Belvidere, Illinois, Jeep plant. However, tensions rose after the UAW rejected Stellantis’ offer as a “no-go” and CNBC reported that the proposal could result in the closure of 18 facilities.

    The strikes have already led to layoffs of non-striking workers at GM and Ford, as the companies claim there are spillover effects from the factory walkouts. The UAW has promised to pay these affected workers $500 a week in strike pay, utilizing its strike fund, which currently amounts to approximately $825 million.

    Negotiations have taken place between the UAW and the automakers throughout the strike. While some progress has been characterized as “reasonably productive” in talks with Ford, the exact details of the latest offers have not been disclosed. The UAW initially demanded a 40% pay raise but has lowered it to 36%, while GM, Ford, and Stellantis have each counteroffered with proposals ranging from a 19.5% to 21% raise.

    In conclusion, the UAW’s threat to expand strikes puts pressure on the Detroit automakers to make significant progress in negotiations. With thousands of workers already on strike and the potential for more to join, a resolution needs to be reached to minimize the impact on automotive production and to address the union’s demands for improved wages and working conditions.

    – Bloomberg (Updated on: 19 Sep 2023, 08:39 AM)
    – Getty Images via AFP