United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain took to social media on Friday afternoon to announce major updates in the union’s negotiations with Detroit-Three automakers.
Similar to his previous “stand up” livestream, the UAW chief arrived slightly after the 2 p.m. starting time, once again because of last-minute concessions from automaker executives. As he began, Fain noted that he had been prepared to call for a new strike at a critical General Motors factory in Texas. However, in an eleventh-hour discussion with United Auto Workers leaders, the OEM agreed “in writing” to place electric vehicle battery manufacturing under the union’s national master agreement. EVs have been a point of contention between the UAW and the Big-Three due to concerns that the companies would dismantle or shut down ICE manufacturing facilities, putting thousands of employees out of jobs. Since battery production was not covered in the previous union agreement, workers could also be forced to accept lower compensation, especially in anti-union or right-to-work states, where many new EV facilities are being built. Under GM’s new terms, however, union members would not only have better access to jobs at battery facilities, but they would also receive the same level of pay guaranteed in the company’s contract.
Fain called the offer “a transformative win” for union members. Citing similar progress at Ford and Stellantis, the UAW chief ultimately declined to announce additional strikes against the Detroit-Three during the livestream, although he emphasized that further action was still on the table. Fain also provided updates on several key union demands, primarily concerning pay. As of today, Ford’s offer to United Auto Workers members would increase pay by 23%. The automaker’s previous 20% wage increase was rejected last week for missing the UAW’s minimum 30% target. Although the company did not disclose it at the time, it did say the new contract, submitted this Tuesday, would increase pay “more than 20%.” Both Stellantis’ and General Motors’ offers failed to progress since Fain’s last update, remaining at 20%. The UAW chief promised to continue negotiating until the two companies agreed to higher compensation. Other unrequited demands include wage progression, career paths for temporary workers and pension benefits.
The United Auto Workers strike is now entering its fourth week, hitting its one-month anniversary on Sunday, October 15. The industry has yet to see a notable decline in inventory despite the manufacturing disruptions caused by the union. While it is not clear the extent to which OEM profit margins have been affected over the last three weeks, General Motors claimed on Wednesday that it has already lost $200 million since the start of the strike.