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News > U.S.

UAW President Says Strike Is Working as It Enters 22nd Day

  • UAW workers on strike, Oct. 6, 2023.

    UAW workers on strike, Oct. 6, 2023. | Photo: X/ @CBSSacramento

Published 7 October 2023

The United Auto Workers announced the strike at select factories of Ford, GM and Stellantis on Sept. 14.

On Friday, United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain proclaimed that "our strike is working," after the Big Three U.S. automakers made concessions in the negotiations this week.


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"We are making significant progress," Fain said during a Facebook livestream Friday afternoon as the union's strike against the Big Three U.S. automakers entered the 22nd day. "In just three weeks, we have moved these companies further than anyone thought was possible."

General Motors (GM) agreed to place its battery plants under the union's national agreement at the last minute as the union was preparing to expand the strike to the Detroit-based automaker's full-size SUV plant in Arlington, Texas, on Friday.

GM's decision to include battery-plant workers in the master agreement "lays the foundation for a just transition" to electric vehicles, Fain said. GM has also agreed to a 23-percent wage hike.

In a letter to employees following Fain's livestream, Stellantis NV's Chief Operating Officer for North America Mark Stewart said the company's offer is a 21.4 percent compounded wage raise through 2027, including an immediate 10-percent raise upon ratification.

Ford has offered workers a 23-percent not compounded wage increase by April 2028, and promised to get there in three years instead of the current eight-year progression. GM and Stellantis remain at four years.

On cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), Ford and Stellantis have agreed to reinstate the traditional formula that was suspended in 2009. GM isn't far behind. Stellantis said its COLA would be calculated every quarter, added to every hour earned and included in weekly paychecks.

On job security, Ford agreed to allow the union to strike over plant closures, while Stellantis, at the last minute last week to stave off a strike expansion, agreed to give workers the right not to cross a picket line and to strike in the event of a plant closure, as well.

For temporary and supplemental workers, Ford is offering a wage of US$21 per hour, while GM and Stellantis US$20 per hour. The Big Three have made commitments to converting temporary workers to full-time, but he didn't share details. Ford previously agreed to convert current temporary workers with at least three months of experience to full-time.

The union continues to fight for improved pension benefits for those with pensions, as well as the expansion of pensions and post-retirement health care to workers hired after the ratification of the 2007 agreements. Those workers receive 401(k) contributions and don't have company-provided health care into retirement.

Stellantis said it has offered over US$1 billion in contributions to retirement funding and "significant improvements" to its 401(k) contribution. Ford said it has increased 401(k) contributions. GM's previous offers included payments to active and retired UAW members.

Details on profit sharing weren't provided. There's "still a lot of work to be done both on the wages and the conversions. This strike is about righting the wrongs of the past and winning justice for all of our members," Fain said.

The impact of the UAW's strike keeps spreading. Ford on Friday asked almost 500 more workers not to report to work as a result of the union's strike beginning Sept. 29 at its SUV assembly plant in Chicago, including 25 employees at Sterling Axle Plant effective between Thursday and Sunday, 372 workers at Cleveland Engine Plant and 94 employees at Lima Engine Plant effective Monday.

"While we are doing what we can to avoid layoffs, we have no choice but to reduce production of parts that would be destined for a plant that is on strike. Strike-related layoffs are an unfortunate result of the UAW's strategy," said Bryce Currie, vice president of Americas manufacturing and labor affairs for Ford.

Ford's laid-off workers now total approximately 1,800, while GM has laid off 2,175 employees, compared with several hundred for Stellantis.

The UAW announced the strike at three select factories of Ford, GM and Stellantis on Sept. 14, after its contract with the Big Three expired.

It spread the strike to 38 GM and Stellantis parts distribution centers around the country on Sept. 22, following a failure to make meaningful progress in new contract negotiations; and further spread it to GM and Ford SUV assembly plants on Sept. 29.

In all, about 25,300 out of 146,000 Big Three U.S. automakers represented by the UAW are now on strike across the country.

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