The United Auto Workers’ contract with Detroit’s Big Three automakers expired at midnight on Thursday without a new labour agreement being reached, leading to one of the country’s worst strikes in recent memory.
Late on Thursday, UAW President Shawn Fain announced via Facebook Live that workers at three Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis factories—a GM assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri; a Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan; and a Stellantis assembly complex in Toledo, Ohio—would immediately quit their jobs.
What Auto Workers Desire
The demands of the UAW include a 36% salary rise over the course of a four-year contract, universal pension benefits, and restrictions on the use of temporary workers, additional labour safeguards, such as the right to strike over factory closures; more paid time off, including a four-day workweek; and more.
On Thursday, with negotiations deadlocked, executives from Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) claimed to have given the UAW numerous offers in recent weeks in an effort to reach an agreement for the union’s 145,000 members.
What Auto Workers Want And What The Automakers Are Willing To Give
A few hours before the current four-year collective bargaining agreement expires, the United Auto Workers presented Ford with their first serious counterproposal at 8 p.m. today evening at Solidarity House in Detroit, according to a later statement from Ford.
The Big Three claim they have offered credible counteroffers and are eager to continue talking, despite their unwillingness to agree to all of the UAW’s requests. In explaining their stance, manufacturer leaders claim that they face intense pressure to maintain low costs and car prices in order to compete with Tesla and other domestic and international automakers, particularly as the firms fight for a piece of the expanding electric vehicle market.
On Thursday, Farley referred to the UAW’s demands as “what their initial offer was, which was to pay our hourly workers about $300,000 each, and to work four days.” That would essentially make our business unprofitable.