Midnight tonight, September 14th, marks the deadline for Detroit's automotive industry to settle contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and the big three automakers– General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis. However, so far, we see no sign of a resolution. As the end of today approaches, we are all on edge to see what happens with this stand-off.
What's The Big Deal?
The UAW union is demanding a 36% pay increase from the automakers, and so far, the automakers have offered merely half of this increase. The union is standing its ground and demanding a total 36% increase or an automotive industry strike will occur, as voted by the members of the union.
Should this strike happen, we will be seeing history in the making. There has never before been a strike by the UAW against all three Detroit automakers in the union's 80-year history, and should this occur, we can be sure that our already-strained economy will feel the effects.
The Crux of The Argument
UAW President Shawn Fain addressed union members in an online speech and acknowledged that while the automakers have slightly increased their initial wage offers, they have rejected several other key demands.
Fain said, “We do not yet have offers on the table that reflect the sacrifices and contributions our members have made to these companies.” He hinted at the possibility of a strike, stating that they are “preparing to strike these companies in a way they've never seen before.”
On the other side of the argument, Ford Chief Jim Farley thinks they have made more than enough effort to settle this negotiation and implies that Fain is just after the publicity rather than the best interest of the union. Farley says that he has made four generous offers that have included a competitive wage offer, elimination of wage tiers, reinstatement of cost-of-living pay increases, and increased vacation time.
My question is: why is Ford just now offering these benefits to their employees? Why did the union have to threaten to strike before receiving an adequate and fair offer? But I digress.