The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is set to resume negotiations with Stellantis on September 18th, following the rejection of its latest proposal.
Autoworkers have been engaging in targeted strikes after failing to reach an agreement with the “big three” automakers by the September 15th deadline.
Tens of thousands of workers have walked off the job at three major auto plants owned by General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.
UAW members have gone on strike at a GM site in Wentzville, Missouri, a Stellantis center in Toledo, Ohio, and a Ford assembly location in Wayne, Michigan.
Union leaders have indicated that the strike may expand to other auto plants.
UAW Rejects Latest Contract Proposal
On September 16th, UAW President Shawn Fain announced the union’s rejection of Stellantis’s offer, which included a 21 percent pay raise over the course of a new contract and an immediate 10 percent pay increase.
The Detroit-based automaker also proposed a higher starting wage rate of $20 per hour for supplemental employees, representing a 26.7 percent increase.
“Decisions made during this process will either enable our workers and our Company to thrive or will take us backward and endanger the long-term competitiveness of our Company, negatively impacting our workers and our communities,” stated Stellantis in a press release.
Stellantis referred to its latest offer as “highly competitive” and emphasized that it would secure a sustainable future for all UAW-represented employees, ensuring competitiveness during the automotive industry’s historic transformation.
“Our bargaining team continues to work diligently to understand and address each of the Union’s nearly 1,000 demands,” Stellantis added.
Mr. Fain made it clear to CBS that the proposal was a definite “no go” and that the union had conveyed this message to the companies.
Ford and General Motors have made similar proposals.
Autoworkers Demand Massive Pay Raise
UAW has been demanding a 40 percent pay raise for its members, pointing out that Ford’s annual gross profits have risen by 34 percent and GM’s by 50 percent since 2019.
“The reason we asked for a 40 percent pay increase is because in the last four years alone, CEO pay has gone up by 40 percent. They’re already millionaires,” stated Mr. Fain, emphasizing that their demands are justified.
“We’re asking for our fair share in this economy and the rewards of our hard work,” he argued.
Other items sought by the UAW include a new 32-hour workweek for 40 hours of pay and expanded pension benefits.
The union also called for the elimination of seniority-based wage tiers, which were implemented by automakers during the Great Recession to cut costs.
Stellantis has agreed to eliminate wage tiers for certain workers and reduce the hourly wage progression timeline to four years.
“This would bring all current full-time hourly workers to the top rate during the next agreement,” the company stated.
Stellantis has also offered additional measures to protect against inflation and over $1 billion in retirement security improvements.
The automaker criticized the UAW’s portrayal of its plans to close or sell 18 facilities, stating that it intends to run parts distribution centers more efficiently as it transitions to producing electric vehicles.
The Detroit firm has also assured that jobs in these plants will be preserved.
Negotiations Remain in Deadlock
While negotiations with Stellantis have reached a deadlock, the UAW has described its negotiations with Ford as “reasonably productive.”
However, Mr. Fain criticized the automakers’ attempts to play hardball, accusing them of threatening to lay off nonunion workers to pressure union members into settling for less.
GM threatened to lay off 2,000 workers at a plant in Fairfax, Kansas, attributing the decision to the strike in Missouri, which terminated a union contract providing supplemental unemployment benefits to Kansas employees.
Ford went a step further by laying off 600 workers at a facility in Wayne, Michigan, citing the strike as the reason for the lack of work.
Mr. Fain affirmed that the UAW will not back down and will continue to provide income for workers laid off due to the strike.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden called on automakers on September 15th to promptly offer union members favorable terms for a new contract and to share a greater portion of their record profits from recent years.
“Auto companies have seen record profits in recent years due to the exceptional skills and sacrifices of UAW workers,” stated Mr. Fain in a press release.
“However, these record profits have not been fairly shared with the workers,” he added.
Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) arrived to join the strikers in Wayne, Michigan, and walked the picket line, as reported by NBC News.
“It’s truly an honor to be here,” said Mr. Fetterman as he joined a group of striking UAW members, expressing his support for the union’s way of life.
The Epoch Times has reached out to Stellantis and the UAW for comment.
How have the strikes impacted the production and delivery of vehicles at Stellantis’s U.S. plants?
Nnounced plans to invest $14 billion in its U.S. plants over the next four years.
Impact of Strikes
The strikes have had a significant impact on the operations of the “big three” automakers. The shutdown of these plants has resulted in the loss of thousands of vehicles being produced and delays in deliveries to dealerships. This, in turn, has led to a shortage of new cars and trucks available for purchase, contributing to the ongoing supply chain issues in the automotive industry.
Additionally, the strikes have created uncertainty for workers and their families. Many rely on their income from these jobs to support themselves and their loved ones. The prolonged strikes and uncertainty over when a new contract will be reached can cause financial strain and anxiety.
Stellantis, like Ford and General Motors, has made efforts to address the demands of the UAW. The company has proposed a pay raise, higher starting wage rates for supplemental employees, and the elimination of wage tiers for certain workers. Stellantis has emphasized the competitiveness of its offer and its commitment to securing a sustainable future for its employees
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