DETROIT (FOX 2) - If Big Three automakers and United Auto Workers do not reach a deal on Thursday, workers will take to the picket line.
A strike is set to begin at midnight if the automakers and UAW do not compromise by 11:59 p.m. Sept. 14.
Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors have provided proposals that the union has rejected.
As of Wednesday afternoon, UAW President Shawn Fain said offered a 20% raise, General Motors an 18% raise, and Stellantis 17%. Though the offers are now all in the double digits, they fall short of what the union wants.
The union initially was asking for a 46% pay raise, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay, the tier system removed, and restoration of traditional pensions for new hires, among other demands. However, the union said it is now willing to accept a pay raise percentage in the mid-30s.
Fain told members to be prepared to strike come early Friday, though the plan doesn't involve striking all plants at once.
"We will not strike all of our facilities at once. We will strike all three companies, a historic first, initially at a limited number of targeted locations that we will be announcing," Fain said. "Then, based on what's happening in bargaining, we're going to announce more Locals that are going to be called to stand up and strike."
If this strike, which is known as a "Stand Up Strike," happens the UAW said employees who are not on the picket line will be working without a contract agreement. The union provided guidance for what these workers should and should not do:
- Report any changes in terms and conditions of employment to committee person
- Refuse voluntary overtime
- Attend Local Union meetings
- Work more slowly or refuse to do job duties
- Confront, argue, or threaten anyone if there is a dispute
- Damage company property.
Fain will update members on the status of the strike and provide a list of locations where workers will strike first during a 10 p.m. Facebook Live on Thursday.
As of now, a strike seems likely.
On Wednesday evening, all three automakers provided statements about their offers and the looming strike:
We’re still awaiting the UAW’s response to the offer we presented yesterday. Our focus remains on bargaining in good faith to have a tentative agreement on the table before the collective bargaining agreement expires.
We want to let you know that we continue to bargain directly and in good faith and have presented additional strong offers to the UAW. We are making progress in key areas that we believe are most important to you. This includes historic guaranteed annual wage increases, investments in our U.S. manufacturing plants to provide opportunities for all and shortening the time for in-progression employees to reach maximum wages.
Our goal remains to reach an agreement before the expiration of the current contract.
We know that best-in-class manufacturing is our competitive advantage, and that's thanks to you. We are incredibly enthusiastic about our products, our technologies, and our customer engagement. Anything that disrupts what we can deliver to our customers is a setback for all of us. We came through the pandemic and other recent challenges with critical business momentum, and together we can keep it going. We can all win.
The Ford team continues to put 100% of our energy into reaching an agreement with the UAW that rewards our valued employees and allows the company to invest in the future. If there is a strike, it’s not because Ford didn’t make a great offer. We have and that’s what we can control. In fact, we have put four offers on the table starting Aug. 29 and each one has been increasingly generous. We still have not received any genuine counteroffer. On Tuesday, Bill Ford and I sat down with the union at the main table for a major offer. As we were walking in the room, we learned President Fain would not be attending. Nevertheless, Bill and I laid out a historically generous offer to the UAW Ford bargaining team because we listened to the UAW demands and we care about our employees. Here are the facts. Ford:
- Significantly increased our proposal on wage increases;
- Offered Cost of Living Adjustments, or COLA;
- Fully eliminated wage tiers so all employees can achieve industry-leading wages – and shortened to four from eight years the time it takes hourly employees to reach the top wage;
- Increased contributions to in-progression retirement savings;
- Protected health care benefits that would continue to rank in the top 1% of all employersponsored medical plans for lowest employee cost sharing; and
- Added more paid time off, with up to five weeks of vacation and 17 paid holidays each year (with the addition of Juneteenth).
The first we learned President Fain received the offer was on Facebook Live this evening. So again, we are here and ready to reach a deal. We should be working creatively to solve hard problems rather than planning strikes and PR events. Please remember that Ford, more than any other company, has bet on the UAW and treated the UAW with respect. We have been incredibly supportive of the union. We have gone well beyond any contract language in adding jobs and investment. The future of our industry is at stake. Let’s do everything we can to avert a disastrous outcome.