The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against General Motors (GM) and Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram, for allegedly not bargaining in good faith over a new contract. The union claims that the two automakers have failed to respond to its economic demands in a timely manner, while Ford Motor has made a counterproposal that the union considers unacceptable.
UAW seeks higher wages and better benefits for workers
The UAW is negotiating a new four-year contract with the three Detroit-based automakers, which expires on September 14. The union has made ambitious demands, including raises of more than 40% over the term of the deal, elimination of the pay and benefit gap between workers hired before and after 2007, and more job security and quality of life improvements. The union also wants to limit the use of temporary workers, who are paid less and have fewer benefits than permanent employees.
The UAW represents about 150,000 workers at GM, Ford and Stellantis in the US. The union has threatened to strike if it does not reach a satisfactory agreement with the automakers by the deadline. The last time the UAW went on strike was in 2019, when it staged a 40-day walkout at GM that cost the company nearly $3 billion.
GM and Stellantis accused of delaying tactics
UAW President Shawn Fain announced on Thursday that the union has filed unfair labor practice charges against GM and Stellantis with the NLRB, accusing them of not bargaining in good faith or providing any economic counters to the union’s proposals. Fain said that the automakers’ playbook is “delay, delay, delay” and that they are trying to “run out the clock” until the contract expires.
Fain said that the union is still hopeful of reaching a deal before the deadline, but only if both parties show up ready to bargain. He said that the union’s strongest line of defense is its ability to take collective action and that it will not hesitate to strike if necessary.
Spokespeople for GM and Stellantis did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the union’s allegations.
Ford’s counterproposal rejected by UAW
Fain said that Ford has responded to the union’s demands with a counterproposal, but that it was far from satisfactory. He said that Ford’s offer included a 9% wage increase over four years, one-time lump-sum bonuses, and unlimited use of temporary workers. He also said that Ford rejected all of the union’s job security and quality of life proposals, such as additional paid holidays and a shorter work week.
Fain said that Ford’s proposal was “insulting” and “disrespectful” to the workers who have made sacrifices and contributed to the company’s success. He said that the union will continue to negotiate with Ford, but that it will not accept anything less than what it deserves.
A spokesperson for Ford said that the company is committed to reaching a fair and competitive agreement with the UAW that benefits both parties.
UAW faces challenges amid industry transformation
The UAW is negotiating with the automakers at a time when the auto industry is undergoing a major transformation, driven by technological innovations and environmental regulations. The automakers are investing billions of dollars in electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous vehicles (AVs), which are expected to reshape the future of mobility.
However, these new technologies also pose challenges for the UAW, as they require fewer workers and different skills than traditional vehicles. The union fears that the shift to EVs and AVs will lead to job losses, wage cuts and outsourcing. The union also wants to have a say in how the automakers allocate their investments and production plans.
The UAW is also facing internal challenges, as it tries to restore its credibility and reputation after a corruption scandal that led to several convictions of former union leaders and officials. Fain was elected as the new president of the UAW in June, promising to reform the union’s governance and culture. He also pledged to fight for the rights and interests of the workers amid the changing industry landscape.