DETROIT (FOX 2) - Monday is the fourth day of the ‘stand up strike’ by the UAW, which could drag on for weeks or months. So far, Detroit's Big Three have not met the demands of the union – which president Shawn Fain said he will not be budging on.
Workers at three plants - the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, and the GM Wentzville Assembly Plant in Missouri - were called to strike Friday after contracts with the Big Three automakers expired.
The union initially was asking for a 46% pay raise, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay, the tier system removed, and restoration of traditional pensions for new hires, among other demands. However, the union said it is now willing to accept a pay raise percentage in the mid-30s.
Ford's ‘historically generous’ offer
The UAW went on strike at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14. The day before, Ford offered a major increase in its offer with CEO Jim Farley saying it was the most generous offer in decades.
"We put an offer in today that's our most generous offer in 80 years of the UAW and Ford," said Farley. "Pay increases, elimination of tiers, inflation protection, five weeks of vacation, 17 paid holidays, bigger contributions for retirement. So it's a significant enhancement, (we're) still optimistic that we'll get a deal, but there is a limit."
Ford has not publicly stated what the offer was, however it's believed to be in the range of a 20% increase in wages.
On Friday, hours after the strike started, Ford laid off 600 workers at its factory in Wayne.
In a statement from the automaker, it said the strike will have "knock-on effects" for other parts of the company's supply chain, prompting it to shutter certain manufacturing processes.
"In this case, the strike at Michigan Assembly Plant’s final assembly and paint departments has directly impacted the operations in other parts of the facility. Approximately 600 employees at Michigan Assembly Plant’s body construction department and south sub-assembly area of integrated stamping were notified not to report to work Sept. 15," Ford said in a statement. "This is not a lockout. This layoff is a consequence of the strike at Michigan Assembly Plant’s final assembly and paint departments, because the components built by these 600 employees use materials that must be e-coated for protection. E-coating is completed in the paint department, which is on strike."
General Motors' 20% increase
On Friday, General Motors gave the UAW its most recent offer – which included a raise of 20% over the life of the agreement, with half of that coming in year 1. It would also increase temporary team member wages to $20/hour.
GM is offering cost-of-living protection for maximum wage earners; a quicker path to maximum wages (cutting the path from eight years down to four); retirement security of $500 to retirees and $1,000 to active employees; and offering more time off of two weeks parental leave, Juneteenth as a company holiday, and up to 5 weeks vacation.
"We will continue to bargain in good faith with the union to reach an agreement as quickly as possible for the benefit of our team members, customers, suppliers and communities across the U.S. In the meantime, our priority is the safety of our workforce," GM said in a statement as employees walked out of the Missouri plant.
Stellantis offers raises to 21%
Stellantis came out with its most recent offer on Saturday – which would raise hourly employees by 21%, with an immediate 10% raise once the contract is ratified.
The company is also offered profit sharing of $44,700, increasing wage for supplemental employees to $24/hour, up 26.7%; ending wage tiers in the Mopar division while cutting progression from 8 years to 4 years; inflation protection; $1 billion in retirement security improvements; and facility modernization.
White House sending officials to help
As the strike threatens to derail the U.S. economy, President Joe Biden announced that White House advisor and acting labor secretary Julie Su to Detroit early this week to offer support in reaching an agreement. How exactly they will help has not been specified.
Biden's officials aren't the only politicians to get involved. State representatives and United States senators have been showing their support. On Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders joined union members in Detroit for a solidarity rally.
"The fight you are waging here is not just about decent wages and working conditions and pensions in the automobile industry. It is a fight to take on corporate greed," Sanders said.
As more days pass without a deal, more workers could be added to the stand up strike. Currently, about 13,000 workers are striking.