On Friday, October 20, UAW President Shawn Fain gave an update on the progress of Big Three contract negotiations. You can view the slides used during the presentation at the bottom of this post.
FAIN ON THE CURRENT STATE OF NEGOTIATIONS
“We’ve looked at the companies’ proposals. We’ve costed their offer. And in my opinion – and in the opinion of the Vice Presidents – and in the opinion of your national negotiators – there is more to be won.
One thing we’ve been hearing over and over from these companies is how they’ve offered us “record contracts.” They stole that line from us, by the way. And you know what? We agree. These are already record contracts. But they come at the end of decades of record decline. So, it’s not enough to be the best-ever when autoworkers have gone backwards over the last two decades. That’s a very low bar.
I also find a pathetic irony that every time they make an offer, it’s the best they can do, it’s a record offer. And then two days later, there’s a new record. What that should tell you is there’s room to move.”
“At all three companies, as of this week, we have a 23% raise on the table. That’s up from 20% just a few days ago, and up from 9% when they made their first offer. The companies kept saying they hit their limit, and then their limit went up. We think there’s more ground to gain.”
“At all three companies, we have killed massive wage tiers. This is a major win and has been a major priority. We believe in equal pay for equal work.
At Stellantis, Mopar workers will make production wages. At GM, CCA and GMCH workers will make production wages. At Ford, Sterling Axle and Rawsonville workers will make production wages.
This represents huge raises for those members and will end the toxic wage tier divide among these members.”
“We started these negotiations with a ridiculous 8-year progression.
At Ford, we got it down to a 3-year progression, where it was in the mid-1990s. At Stellantis, they’re still stuck on a 4-year progression. At GM, they want to two-tier the progression, with 3-years for all current employees, and 4 years for future hires. Obviously, that is not going to fly.
If Ford can do it, so can GM and Stellantis, and we are not adding a new tier.”
“At Ford, we have won the COLA formula back to where it was in 2009 — something we were told was impossible. At GM, we’re really close, with some tweaks left to be made. At Stellantis, we’ve still got a deficient COLA formula on the table, that doesn’t kick-in for the first year.”
“At all three companies, we’ve been able to beat back concessionary profit-sharing proposals. At Ford, we’ve actually enhanced the formula, and temporary workers with 90 days of service will now be eligible. At GM, we’ve maintained profit sharing, but added eligibility for temporary workers with 1,000 hours on the job. At Stellantis, we’ve maintained, but haven’t yet won eligibility for temporary workers.”
“We’re fighting to end the abuse of so-called temporary workers who make lower wages, have fewer rights, and little job security.
At Ford, we’ve raised the temp wage to $21 an hour, and won conversion of all current temps with 90 days of service. At GM, we’ve also hit $21 an hour for temps, with all the temps who have a year in getting immediately converted to full time. At Stellantis, the temp wage is still at $20 an hour, and we’re going to convert thousands of temps.
At all three, we’re still negotiating a pathway for future temps to get converted to end the abuse of these members. We’re fighting hard to win language across the Big Three that will make sure that temporary work is just that – temporary.”
“One of our biggest proposals on job security has been the right to strike over plant closures. They can’t keep closing plants without any consequences.
At Ford and Stellantis, we’ve won that right. We will keep our jobs secure with the most powerful weapon we have, the strike threat.
At GM, the company still won’t grant it.”
“At all three companies, we’ve won an additional holiday, Juneteenth, and two weeks of paid parental leave, a first for our members at the Big Three.”
“We know we need to fix our broken retirement system at the Big Three.
All three companies are now offering a $3 increase to the pension multiplier, and boosting the 401k, though GM lags behind. Ford and Stellantis are offering a 9.5% employer contribution to the 401k, and GM is offering just 8%.
For current retirees, Ford is offering a $250 annual lump sum payment, and GM just a one-time $1,000 lump sum. Stellantis isn’t offering anything on that front.”
SKILLED TRADES TOOL ALLOWANCE
“All three companies are now at $1.50 tool allowance for skilled trades.”
“This week, GM and Stellantis got the message loud and clear. They hurried to catch up with Ford.
But GM, in particular, is worrying. They tell us they need a two-tier wage progression because they expect to do a lot of hiring. At the same time, they threaten product and won’t give us the right to strike over plant closures. I wonder how members at Arlington and Flint Truck feel about that.
Stellantis has its issues as well. They’re still at a 4-year progression. They’re still at just $20 for temp workers. They’ve rejected all increases to retiree pay. I know plenty of members at SHAP, and in Kokomo who aren’t going to like that.
And Ford is just waiting around, handing money out to Wall Street. I wonder what members at the Rouge thought of Bill Ford’s comments implying they might close the plant if we don’t settle for what they’ve offered?
The bottom line is we’ve got cards left to play. And they’ve got money left to spend.
This is the hardest part of a strike. Right before a deal is when there is the most aggressive push for that last mile. They want to wait us out. They want division. They want fear. They want uncertainty.
And what we have is our solidarity.
We have great negotiators, we have great staff, and we have the best members in the world. We have plans, strategies, and tactics to keep winning at the table, backed up by some of the most badass unionists in the country.
Poll after poll shows we have the overwhelming support of the American public. The US Senate just introduced a resolution to stand with the UAW, and it has bipartisan support.
If we stand together, if we have faith, we will win. Not just a good contract. Not just a record contract. But a contract that turns the tide. A contract that finally – finally – starts to make things right at the Big Three, and for autoworkers everywhere.
Last, I just want to remind you all of one thing. We said last week that we’re not sticking to Friday expansions. We’re going to hit when we need to hit, where we need to hit. This week, we saw the companies try to get in line with one another. Now we need to move that line across all three.
Don’t let them divide us. Don’t let them scare us. Don’t let them confuse us. Our cause is just, the money is there, and our strategy is working. Time is on our side. The American public is on our side. The facts are on our side.
So stay ready to Stand Up. Thank you.”