DETROIT, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The union has received new contract offers from GM and Stellantis in the past 24 hours, and the three Detroit automakers have agreed on a 23% wage increase, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fine said on Friday. Still need to win”.
“”We’re hitting the Big Three like we’ve never hit before,” Fine said.
He added that there was “intense movement at Stellandis and GM,” but that “these very profitable companies still have to give.”
Fine acknowledged that some union members want to vote on concessions that union negotiators have in hand. He urged UAW members not to succumb to what he called “fear, uncertainty, doubt and division” sown by corporations.
The union said earlier on Friday it would update members on bargaining after a week of “intense negotiations” with the big three.
Five weeks into a strike, General Motors GM.N said on Friday it would raise its offer to striking auto workers, matching Ford’s ( FN ) earlier proposed 23% wage increase and other benefit improvements. Chrysler-parent Stellandis ( STLAM.MI ) is raising its wage offer to match GM and Ford, Bloomberg News reported.
“We have made significant progress in all key areas to reach a final agreement with the UAW and get our people back to work,” GM said in a statement earlier Friday.
“The majority of our employees will earn $40.39 an hour, or $84,000 a year by the end of the term of this contract,” it said.
Both GM and Ford shares closed up about 1% on Friday.
Over 34,000 union members working in three autos have been on a walkout strike since September 15.
The union, which held simultaneous strikes against three Detroit automakers, began bargaining with a demand for a 40% wage increase. The demand includes an immediate 20% raise, elimination of disparate pay rates among UAW workers, and restructuring of defined benefit plans. The union also wants battery plant workers to come under union contracts.
The GM offer “suggests we may be in the end game,” said University of California, Berkeley labor professor Harley Shaigan. “Essentially Ford has set the dimensions of the format, but GM is contributing to it. We have a ways to go, but clearly there is movement.”
The progress in negotiations followed last week’s surprise UAW strike at Bord’s largest Kentucky truck plant, which generates $25 billion in annual sales and accounts for about one-sixth of the company’s global auto revenue.
Fein described the Kentucky walkout as a warning to GM and Stellantis ( STLAM.MI ), saying the union was poised to strike at the GM assembly plant in Arlington, Texas, which makes the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Suburban and other large, high-priced SUVs. .
Ford, which had the best offer of the three, said it was within range of what it could pay and was competitive.
But Fine said Friday that the Ford dividend shows “the money is there” for a better offer.
GM said Friday that the new 23% collective wage increase offer represents a 25% collective wage increase over the life of the contract, with a 10% increase in the first year. With the increase in cost of living, the offer is over 30%. GM’s previous offer was a 20% wage increase.
Also, it now pays temporary workers $21 an hour, up from $20 before.
Ford declined to comment on GM’s offer and Stellandis had no immediate comment.
Ford has not yet talked about joint venture battery plants under the master agreement, Shaiken said. “Clearly, GM wants to settle, but Ford feels it’s in good shape to begin with.”
Instead of the hammer blow of a mass walkout that the UAW has historically used, the union is using the freedom to expand strikes to leverage with different automakers, tactically playing the companies off against each other.
Automakers have said the union demands will significantly raise costs and raise electric vehicle ambitions, putting them at a disadvantage compared to foreign brands such as EV leaders Tesla and Toyota.
On Monday, Ford CEO Bill Ford warned of the growing impact of the strike on the automaker and the U.S. economy.
Total economic losses from the UAW strike have reached $7.7 billion, with the Detroit Three losing $3.45 billion, according to the latest data from economic consulting firm Anderson Economic Group.
Reporting by Joseph White in Detroit and Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bangalore; Additional reporting by Ben Clayman in Detroit and Pratyush Thakur in Bangalore; Written by Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Peter Henderson and David Gregorio
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