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GM and Ford return to negotiating table as strike enters second day: UAW strike recap

President Joe Biden expresses support for the workers while urging both sides to reach “a win-win” agreement.”
United Auto Workers members strike at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant
United Auto Workers members strike at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., on Friday.Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

The Big Three were back at the negotiating table today, and Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has committed to being there again Monday, union officials said.

Stellantis said its most-recent proposal to United Auto Workers includes raises of nearly 21% over the course of the contract and an immediate 10% pay increase, CNBC reports.

Their deal would end wage tiers for some workers, according to the network. The proposal is in line with proposals from Ford and General Motors. The union wants up to 40% raises as annual gross profits have risen by 34% at Ford and 50% at GM since 2019; it also demands the elimination of seniority based wage tiers created as a money saver for automakers during the Great Recession.

The union said its negotiations with Ford today were "reasonably productive." But UAW President Shawn Fain lashed out at all three companies, saying they have threatened layoffs of nonunion workers as a tactic to get members to settle sooner for less.

GM, for example, threatened to lay off 2,000 workers at a plant in Fairfax, Kansas, saying the strike in Wentzville, Missouri, ended a union contract that also provides supplemental unemployment benefits to those Kansas employees.

Ford laid off 600 workers at a facility in Wayne, Michigan, because there was no work for them because of the strike. Fain said the UAW would not back down, and that it will provide income for workers laid off because of the strike.

Among those who turned out to support the UAW strike today was Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pennsylvania, who drove his late-model Ford Bronco from Braddock, Pennsylvania, to Wayne, Michigan, where it was built, to walk the picket line.

"It's just an honor to be here," Fetterman said as he joined a group of UAW members holding picket signs. He added later, "I always stand for the union way of life."

Latest on the UAW strike

  • Union leaders and the Big Three automakers resumed contract negotiations Saturday, more than 24 hours after the strike began.
  • Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., visited the picket line in Wayne, Michigan, to support striking auto workers.
  • President Joe Biden expressed support for the workers while urging both sides to reach "a win-win" agreement."
  • Union members walked out at three plants: a GM site in Wentzville, Missouri; a Stellantis center in Toledo, Ohio; and a Ford assembly location in Wayne, Michigan. The strike could expand to additional locations.
  • Charts: How the UAW strike compares with other historical U.S. strikes

UAW president calls out Stellantis over idled Belvidere Assembly Plant

Jay Blackman

UAW President Shawn Fain called out Stellantis for taking back a proposed plan to reopen the idled Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois.

"Today, a Stellantis executive told the press that the company had put forward a proposal to reopen Belvidere Assembly Plant but that they are now taking it back. That’s how they see these workers. A bargaining chip," Fain said in a statement Saturday.

An executive for the automaker said they had a solution for the plant, but the offer was contingent on the two sides reaching a deal ahead of the strike, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Fain said the plant had been profitable and supported around 5,000 employees and their families. "Now that number is zero, and Stellantis wants to keep playing games," he said. "Their attitude is: Stellantis giveth, and Stellantis taketh away. Our attitude is: Save Belvidere."

Stellantis offers raises, inflation protection measures to UAW as strikes continue

Alex Harring, CNBC

Stellantis said Saturday that its most recent proposal to the United Auto Workers includes raises of nearly 21% over the course of the contract, including an immediate 10% pay increase, and the end of wage tiers for some workers, the latest development in a historic showdown between the big three Detroit automakers and the union.

The Jeep maker’s proposal, which is in line with proposals from Ford and General Motors, would also continue to offer profit sharing to workers, according to new details on the offer released by the company Saturday.

“The teams have been very, very careful to listen, very careful for us to come up with best offers that we can do that also protect … the company,” COO Mark Stewart said on a Saturday call with reporters.

Read the full story on CNBC here.

Chevrolet Silverado and Tahoe, GMC Sierra and Ford F-Series pickups could be first vehicles to feel effects of strike

Associated Press

If the strike isn’t ended soon there could be shortages of some makes and models –big sellers or vehicles that are already in short supply, such as Chevrolet Silverado and Tahoe, GMC Sierra and Ford F-Series pickups. The car companies have plants in Mexico that could keep producing some models — as long as they have a supply of parts.

While the supply of cars from Detroit’s Big Three will largely depend on how long the strike lasts and how quickly it spreads to other plants As cars from Ford, GM and Stellantis, the successor to Fiat Chrysler, become harder to find, there will be a ripple effect. Consumers who need a vehicle would likely turn to nonunion competitors like Toyota, Honda and Tesla, who would be able to charge them more.

Stellantis to resume negotiations with UAW on Monday

Jay Blackman

Stellantis and the UAW have agreed to resume negotiations Monday, a spokesperson for the company said Saturday afternoon.

UAW said it 'had reasonably productive conversations' with Ford

Jay Blackman

UAW said it "had reasonably productive conversations with Ford today" after the automotive company and GM said they were back negotiating with the union.

'Everyone deserves a livable wage': Legislators show their support

Reps. Nikema Williams, D-Ga., Aryanna Pressely, D-Mass., and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., were among the legislators showing their support for UAW union members.

"Proud to stand with @UAW. Everyone deserves a livable wage," Williams said in a post Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Stabenow wrote: "Michigan workers are making the best cars and trucks in the world. @UAW must have a fair share of that success."

Pressley called out the CEOs of Ford, GM and Stellantis for getting "giant bonuses on top of their million-dollar salaries."

"Yes, they *can* afford to give their workers wages & benefits that reflect their worth," she tweeted Saturday. Solidarity with our @UAW siblings."

Rep. Brendan Boyle. D-Pa., expressed a similar sentiment, writing in a statement that union members "deserve nothing less than an equitable and just agreement that recognizes their skills, hard work and professionalism."

"I was raised in a union household," he said. "I know first-hand how unions fight for fair wages and benefits for workers."

Picket line in Wentzville

GM and Ford back at the table with UAW

Teams for GM and Ford started negotiations again Saturday with UAW, a spokesperson for both automakers confirmed.

UAW president lashes out over threats of nonstriking workers being laid off

UAW President Shawn Fain said threats of layoffs of nonstriking workers is the Big Three's "latest attack" to get union members to "settle for less."

GM threatened to lay off 2,000 workers at a plant in Fairfax, Kansas, blaming the strike in Wentzville, Missouri. The automaker said it wouldn't be able to provide those workers with supplemental unemployment benefits because the contract with the union had expired.

Ford said it had already laid off 600 workers at a facility in Wayne, Michigan, because there was no work for them because of the strike.

Fain said the threats won't work.

"Let's be clear: if the Big Three decide to lay people off who aren’t on strike, that’s them trying to put the squeeze on our members to settle for less. With their record profits, they don’t have to lay off a single employee," he said in a statement Saturday.

Fain said the companies could still make billions of dollars even if they doubled the pay of every worker and kept car prices the same.

"The UAW will make sure any worker laid off in the Big Three’s latest attack will not go without an income," he said. "We’ll organize one day longer than they can, and go the distance to win economic and social justice at the Big Three."

Obama calls on Big Three automakers to 'do right' by their workers

Former President Barack Obama said the Big Three automakers need to "do right" by their workers.

"Fourteen years ago, when the big three automakers were struggling to stay afloat, my administration and the American people stepped in to support them. So did the auto workers in the UAW who sacrificed pay and benefits to help get the companies back on their feet," he said in a statement Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Now that our carmakers are enjoying robust profits, it’s time to do right by those same workers so the industry can emerge more united and competitive than ever," he continued.

'On my way to join you now': Sen. Fetterman heads to picket line in Michigan

Auto worker strike creates test of Biden’s goals on labor and climate

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Two of President Joe Biden ‘s top goals — fighting climate change and expanding the middle class by supporting unions — are colliding in the key battleground state of Michigan as the United Auto Workers go on strike against the country’s biggest car companies.

The strike involves 13,000 workers so far, less than a tenth of the union’s total membership, but it’s a sharp test of Biden’s ability to hold together an expansive and discordant political coalition while running for reelection.

Biden is trying to turbocharge the market for electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent China from solidifying its grip on a growing industry. His signature legislation, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, includes billions of dollars in incentives to get more clean cars on the roads.

However, some in the UAW fear the transition will cost jobs because electric vehicles require fewer people to assemble. Although there will be new opportunities in the production of high-capacity batteries, there’s no guarantee that those factories will be unionized and they’re often being planned in states more hostile to organized labor.

“The president is in a really tough position,” said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “What he needs to be the most pro-labor president ever and the greenest president ever is a magic wand.”

The union is demanding steep raises and better benefits, and it’s escalating the pressure with its targeted strike. Brittany Eason, who has worked for 11 years at the Ford Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., said workers are worried that they’ll “be pushed out by computers and electric vehicles.”

“How do you expect people to work with ease if they’re in fear of losing their jobs?” said Eason, who planned to walk the picket line this weekend. Electric vehicles may be inevitable, she said, but changes need to be made “so everybody can feel secure about their jobs, their homes and everything else.”