In an update on Sunday, Ford Motor Company (F.N) acknowledged that while progress has been made in certain areas, significant hurdles remain in achieving a new labor agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. The statement came following weekend negotiations, with Ford Motor stressing that the unresolved issues are interlinked and require a comprehensive agreement that promotes mutual success.
Strikes Expansion by UAW
The UAW, which had earlier expressed optimism about the talks with Ford Motor, has not yet issued a response to the latest statement.
In contrast to Ford, the UAW has expanded its strikes to encompass General Motors (GM.N) and Stellantis (STLAM.MI), the parent company of Chrysler, affecting 38 parts distribution centers across the United States. It remains unclear if the main bargaining sessions were held with GM and Stellantis over the weekend.
The UAW initiated simultaneous strikes on September 15, targeting one assembly plant each from the Detroit Three automakers as their previous four-year labor agreements expired. On Friday, the union extended strikes to additional GM and Stellantis facilities, adding approximately 5,600 more workers to the 12,700 already on strike.
Ford’s Contract Offer
UAW President Shawn Fain acknowledged that Ford Motor had improved its contract offer, including enhancements in profit sharing and the agreement to allow workers to strike in the event of plant closures. However, Fain emphasized that the union still had serious issues to address.
The core disagreement revolves around compensation. The Detroit Three automakers have proposed 20% raises over a 4-1/2-year period, while the UAW is pushing for a 40% increase, along with a reduction in workweeks to 32 hours, the reinstatement of defined benefit pensions, and the elimination of wage disparities between newer and more seasoned employees.
Joe Biden’s Support
In a show of support for the workers, President Joe Biden is set to travel to Michigan on Tuesday, where he plans to visit a UAW picket line. Meanwhile, Donald Trump, seeking a return to the presidency, is scheduled to address the UAW strike in Clinton Township, Michigan, on Wednesday.
The strike has already caused disruptions in the automotive industry. GM was compelled to halt operations at its Kansas car plant due to a parts shortage triggered by the strike, resulting in the temporary furlough of 2,000 workers in Kansas. Stellantis also faced challenges, temporarily laying off 68 employees in Ohio last week and anticipating the furlough of another 300 workers in Indiana due to the ongoing strike.