In a video statement published August 5, General Motors global manufacturing chief Gerald Johnson expressed concerns over the United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s demands as contract negotiations between the organization and Detroit-Three automakers remain at a standstill.
In the video, Johnson appeared next to General Motors President Mark Reuss to discuss the negotiations. Talks with union representatives have made little progress since they began in July. Increasingly valid threats of a labor strike have done little to spur momentum. So far, organization president Shawn Fain has dismissed contract offers from Ford and Stellantis, the latter of which was unceremoniously thrown into a trashcan during a Facebook livestream in August. GM has yet to announce a formal proposal, but with just over a week left to reach an agreement, it is unclear whether they will make their offer in time.
The opinions expressed in the video seem to further diminish the odds of a contract being signed in time to avoid a strike. As reported by Reuters, Johnson noted that the UAW’s demands, which include a 46% wage increase and job security guarantees, had “significant costs attached that would threaten our ability to maintain our manufacturing momentum.” Although the executive joined President Reuss in assuring viewers that the automaker would continue searching for a middle ground with the union, neither shed any light on what this would look like.
General Motors and Stellantis were both targeted in unfair labor practice complaints from the UAW last Friday. The move seemed to have taken automotive executives by surprise. “We believe [the complaint] has no merit and is an insult to the bargaining committees,” responded Johnson. “We have been intensely focused on engaging in direct and sincere negotiations with the UAW and are moving forward.” Fain, on the other hand, called the negotiation tactics used by the two brands “insulting and counterproductive.” The deadline to arrive at an agreement is September 14.