Talks between the United Auto Workers and the Detroit Three automakers resumed on Saturday, following the union’s initiation of simultaneous strikes at three U.S. auto plants.
The four-year labor deal between the union and General Motors (GM.N), Ford Motor (F.N), and Chrysler-parent Stellantis expired on Thursday at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Stellantis has increased its offer, proposing cumulative raises of nearly 21% over a four-and-a-half-year contract term, including an immediate 10% hike.
GM and Ford are also offering wage hikes of 20% over the same period.
The strikes, which represent a significant U.S. industrial labor action, have resulted in the suspension of production at three plants that manufacture the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, Chevrolet Colorado, and other popular models.
Automakers argue that they require cost-competitive contracts due to the need to invest billions of dollars in transitioning to electric vehicles (EV). However, workers point out that U.S. automakers have experienced substantial profits over the past decade and have increased CEO salaries by an average of 40% since 2019.
Ford announced on Friday that it would indefinitely lay off 600 workers at a Michigan plant due to the strike’s impact on Bronco SUV production. GM informed approximately 2,000 workers at a Kansas car plant that their factory would likely be shut down next week due to a lack of parts resulting from a nearby Missouri plant being struck.
UAW President Shawn Fain dismissed reports of planned layoffs as an attempt by automakers to pressure union members into accepting a weaker settlement.
“Their plan won’t work,” Fain stated. “We will continue organizing for one day longer than they can and go the distance to achieve economic and social justice at the Big Three.”
The union is demanding higher wages, shorter work weeks, the restoration of defined benefit pensions, and stronger job security as automakers transition to EVs.
Stellantis has offered over $1 billion in retirement security improvements and other benefit increases.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Paul Simao
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