Monday, February 26, 2024

Strikes from Friday if Companies don’t consider Labor demands; Union Chief’s disappointment at peak

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Shawn Fain, (President and Chief Executive officer, United Auto Workers) said in a Wednesday interview that the Labor Union is on its edge of setting strikes. The companies do not make offers considering their demands and these are increasing disappointment among the Labor Union that might lead to strikes.

Shawn said in an online meeting with union, “we do not yet have offers on the table that reflect the sacrifices and contributions our members have made to these companies. To win we’re likely going to have to take action. We are preparing to strike these companies in a way they’ve never seen before,” while he remarked that these companies like Ford, Stellantis and General Motors have worked on the wage offerings but refused to consider and rejected other demands by union.

The companies and union had discussions about the deals on Wednesday, but the result is nowhere near yet. The union stated to hold a strike from Thursday, 11.59 pm, if the companies continued to ignore their demands. Added, over past 80 years, it would be the first time to hold a strike against all three companies together, while targeting a few factories per company owing to the Union Chief’s disappointment.

While Jim Farley, CEO at Ford said in a response, “if there’s a strike, it’s not because Ford didn’t make a great offer. We have, and that’s what we can control.” He added, the decisions will be announced on Thursday, at 10 pm.

Jim Farley, CEO Ford

Reasons behind the disagreements

The companies expressed, it’s costly to focus on investing on engineering, developing and manufacturing the electric vehicles. They tried to make the best contracts for the union. Companies say, if they set up on a pricey contract with labor, the costs will shoot up and they’ll be forced to raise the prices of vehicles.

Jim said, “If the companies continue to bargain in bad faith or continue to stall or continue to give us insulting offers, then our strike is going to continue to grow,” added, “the strikes will keep the companies guessing.”

If we don’t get any deal at the end of Thursday, the union will not bargain on Friday.  Union will join workers on the picket lines, Fain said. There are 146,000 UAW members, that could possibly all walk out at same time. But we’ll begin strikes from a few numbers of plants initially, he said.

Demands by the Union

Reportedly UAW demanded a 40% to 46% increase over the four-year contract time with annual compounding. But the offers made by companies were far below than these. Later they altered their demand at 36%. Given increased wages, no tiers of wages for factory jobs, 40 hours of pay for 32-hour week, restoring pensions for newbies receiving 401(k) style pension and retirement plans, restoring cost-of-living pay increases, and so on.

While Fain said, the companies had increased wages. But the union didn’t respond in favor. Ford, GM and Stellantis had offered a 20%, 18% and 17.5% increase over four and a half years respectively. The current top wage tier being $32/hour.

While union chief said, the companies’ made unacceptable offers for cost-of-living with nothing insured for times of crisis or inflation. While the companies rejected the proposal for increased pay for retirees. Most of them have not received a single increase in over past ten years.

While Tobin Williams, HR Head at Stellantis, said, “Our focus remains on bargaining in good faith to have a tentative agreement on the table before tomorrow’s deadline. The future for our represented employees and their families deserves nothing less.”

Ford insisted, that they would make positive efforts for making “additional strong offers.” Ford CEO, Farley said there were four increasingly generous offers made by them since August 29. Adding, “We still have not received any genuine counteroffer.”

The Labor Union has faced the most public bargaining in American history under the management of Fain. Both the parties are equally pressurized to drive on a common agreement on good terms.

 

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