8:37 a.m. ET, September 16, 2023
Just catching up on the UAW strike? Here’s what you need to know
Here’s what to know now that the strike has begun:
Where have workers walked off the job?
It might not take much to virtually shut down the output from all the companies. They operate a complex network of plants that depend on getting parts from different facilities.
Key numbers motivating the UAW members:
$32.32: The hourly wage for most of the UAW members at GM, Ford and Stellantis
$18: The starting wage of a UAW worker
$15: The starting wage for temporary workers
Those wages haven’t adjusted for inflation, which rose significantly over the past two years.
Will the automakers negotiate?
Based on their latest reports, Ford and GM are now offering a 20% raise during the life of the contract, and Stellantis is offering 17.5%. The union started with a demand for an immediate 20%, and four additional raises of 5% each over the course of a four-year deal.
GM CEO Mary Barra sent a letter to employees Thursday saying the company’s latest offer now includes a 20% raise, with an immediate 10% pay hike. The lower-paid temporary employees would get $20 an hour, which represents at 20% raise from current $16.67 an hour they receive.
Ford CEO Jim Farley told CNN that an offer from Ford of a 20% raise over the life of the contract is the most lucrative offer the company has made to the union in the 80 years it has been there. But he said meeting the union’s demands of close to a 40% raise, along with a four-day work week and other benefit improvements, would have been unaffordable.
Farley blamed the union for the lack of progress in negotiations. But the union has blamed the companies for waiting until the end of August or early September to make their first counteroffers.
Anger is mounting with Stellantis:
Stellantis is making greater use of lower-paid temporary workers than the other automakers. Eliminating or at least limiting use of temporary workers is a major issue for the union.
And there is still more anger at Stellantis after former executives of the company were caught giving bribes to former union officials, says Art Wheaton, director of labor studies at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations school in Buffalo.
Many of the members who are angry at the corruption scandal that resulted in two recent UAW presidents going to prison are angry with Stellantis as well.