For the first time in the history of the 150,000-member United Auto Workers Union, members strike against the “Big 3” manufacturers that began at midnight last night after no deal was reached. The “Big 3” include Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, the newly-formed merger of Fiat Chrysler and the PSA Group.
UAW President Shawn Fain told an audience on Facebook Live last night that the strike would target three assembly plants initially: a GM plant in Missouri, a Stellantis plant in Ohio, and a Ford plant in Michigan. This is the first time in all three manufacturers have been targeted at the same time and could have major impacts in vehicle manufacturing in an industry that has already been tight after the restrictive COVID lockdowns in 2020.
The UAW sought a 46% pay raise, a 32 hour work week, and a restoration of traditional pensions. GM’s last offer before the strike commenced was a 20% wage increase “over the life of the agreement” with a 10% increase in Year 1, cost-of-living protections, job security guarantees, a 25% increase to retirement healthcare contributions, an extra holiday (Juneteenth), 2 weeks of paid parental leave and up to 5 weeks of vacation.
Ford claims to have submitted four offers and “still have not received any genuine counteroffer.” On Tuesday, Ford laid out a “historically generous” offer to the UAW Ford bargaining team. Notably absent from that meeting was UAW President Shawn Fain. According to a statement from auto manufacturer, in that meeting, Ford:
- Significantly increased our proposal on wage increases;
- Offered Cost of Living Adjustments, or COLA;
- Fully eliminated wage tiers so all employees can achieve industry-leading wages – and shortened to four from eight years the time it takes hourly employees to reach the top wage;
- Increased contributions to in-progression retirement savings;
- Protected health care benefits that would continue to rank in the top 1% of all employer-sponsored medical plans for lowest employee cost sharing; and
- Added more paid time off, with up to five weeks of vacation and 17 paid holidays each year (with the addition of Juneteenth).
Ford claims the first they heard from UAW President Fain was from the Facebook Live referenced above.
According to Edmunds, the average price of a new car was $48,000 which is 30% higher than it was in 2019, mainly due to part shortages, mainly computer chips. However, according to a post by SUNY Assistant Professor Jeff Schuhrke, UAW Top Wage Rate has been stagnant compared to CEO Pay, N. American Profits, Average Prices, and Inflation:
According to CNN, General Motors reported record profits in 2022. Ford was “near-record profits” and Stellantis, which came about from a 2021 merger of Fiat Chrysler and the PSA Group, posted a 26% increase from its first year of combined operations.
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