UAW to show list of economic demands to automakers this week, will seek worker pay if plants close
Aug 1, 2023, 4:43 PM
DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union will present a long list to General Motors, Ford and Stellantis when it delivers economic demands to the companies this week, the union’s president says.
And the message from newly elected chief Shawn Fain is that the companies are making big profits and can afford to pay up.
“Record profits mean record contracts,” Fain told members in a Facebook Live presentation Tuesday evening.
He reiterated potentially costly demands to end different wage tiers among workers, double-digit pay raises and restoration of cost-of-living pay, defined benefit pensions for all workers, and restoring retiree health coverage.
In addition, Fain said the UAW will ask that companies pay workers for doing community service or other work if their plants are closed, an apparent restoration of the much maligned jobs bank that was eliminated in 2009.
He also proposed a 32-hour work week so union members could spend more time with families and enjoying life.
“I know these demands sound ambitious,” he told workers. “But I also know that the Big Three can afford them.”
The union also wants bargaining with electric vehicle joint venture battery factories to be folded into the UAW national agreement. Currently joint ventures are bargaining separately and the UAW represents only one of the plants so far, in Ohio.
Demands were presented to Stellantis on Tuesday. GM will get the list on Wednesday and Ford on Thursday, Fain said.
The union represents 146,000 workers at the three automakers whose contracts expire at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 14.
Stellantis said in a statement Tuesday that it will review the demands “to understand how they align with our company proposals and where we can find common ground.”
The automaker, with 43,000 union members, said it has been clear from the start that it isn’t seeking concessions.
“As we have done for more than 70 years, we will work constructively and collaboratively with the UAW to find solutions that will result in a contract that is competitive in the global market, responsibly addresses employee concerns and meets the needs of our customers,” the company said.
GM said Tuesday night that it will review the demands once it gets them on Wednesday. A message was left seeking comment from Ford.