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News > U.S.

UAW Strike Enters 21st Day as GM Produces New Counteroffer

  • UAW workers on strike, Oct. 5, 2023.

    UAW workers on strike, Oct. 5, 2023. | Photo: X/ @Tennessean

Published 6 October 2023

Despite the progress made in the negotiations between the Big Three and UAW, significant gaps remained. Disparities between temporary and permanent workers are a highlight.

On Thursday, the Detroit News reported that General Motors submitted a new counteroffer to the United Auto Workers (UAW), as the strike against the Big Three U.S. automakers enters its 21st day.


Strike Against Big Three US Automakers Spreading

The news also came as the UAW said it plans to make another announcement at 2 p.m. local time on Friday. GM did not give details on its latest proposal.


"We can confirm that we provided a counteroffer to the UAW's most recent proposal, our sixth since the start of negotiations," GM spokesperson David Barnas said.

"We believe we have a compelling offer that would reward our team members and allow GM to succeed and thrive into the future. We continue to stand ready and willing to negotiate in good faith 24/7 to reach an agreement," he added.

GM previously offered a 20-percent wage increase over the length of the contract which aims at reducing half of the time it takes for workers to reach the top of the pay scale, raises for temporary workers, and elimination of some wage tiers.

On Tuesday, Ford Motor said it had made its seventh and "strongest" offer to the union, including product commitments for every UAW-represented plant in the United States, an increase in starting pay for temporary workers to US$21 per hour, conversion into permanent upon ratification for all temporary workers with at least three months of continuous service and a wage increase of "more than 20 percent" for permanent workers.

The offer also includes the restoration of cost-of-living allowances, and the elimination of wage tiers which reduces "more than half" the time for workers to reach the top of the wage scale.

Stellantis NV was spared from strike expansion last week as it made progress in talks with the union on areas including cost-of-living adjustments that had been suspended in 2009, the right not to cross a picket line, the right to strike over product commitments and plant closures, and an outsourcing moratorium.

UAW's President Shawn Fain is expected to update its members on where negotiations stand during a live-streamed event on Friday.


Despite the progress made in the negotiations between the Big Three and UAW, "significant gaps" remained. Disparities between temporary and permanent workers are a highlight.

According to contracts negotiated in 2019, temporary workers reach full-time status at GM after 19 months of continuous employment and at Ford after two years. At Stellantis, they get preferential hiring but no guarantees.

In current negotiations, GM and Stellantis have made offers to increase the starting pay for temporary workers from US$16.67 to US$20 per hour. Ford raised its offer to US21 per hour with profit sharing and promised it would make temporary workers full-time after 90 days of continuous service.

Temporary employees make up about 12 percent of Stellantis' UAW workforce; 5-10 percent of GM's total union members; and about 3 percent of Ford's union workforce. Temporary workers also have less health care coverage and don't get profit-sharing checks or other performance bonuses.

Ford's sticking point in its negotiations with the UAW focuses on electric-vehicle battery plants. While the UAW wants to include the four electric-vehicle battery plants in the new contract, Ford accused the UAW of holding the deal hostage over battery plants.

Ford is building four battery plants in the United States: three would be joint-venture operations with battery maker SK On in Tennessee and Kentucky, and another in Marshall, Michigan, would be a wholly-owned Ford subsidiary.

"While Ford remains open to the possibility of working with the UAW on future battery plants in the United States, these are multi-billion-dollar investments and must operate at competitive and sustainable levels," the Dearborn-based automaker said last week.

Ford holds that the next round of contract talks would be the time to talk about these battery plants. The UAW announced strikes 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 some 146,000 Big Three U.S. workers represented by the UAW are now on strike across the country.

Ever since the strike erupted, Ford has temporarily laid off about 1,330 workers due to the strike. For its part, GM has laid off 2,175 workers at component factories that supply plants that are on strike or use parts from them.

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