Ford, GM Try To Sweeten the Pot For Workers To Avoid Strike

General Motors Co. (GM) and Ford Motor Co. (F) on Thursday increased their wage offers to the United Auto Workers (UAW) as the carmakers and Chrysler parent Stellantis N.V. (STLA) attempt to reach an agreement with the union before a Sept. 14 deadline.

Key Takeaways

  • GM has offered a 10% increase in wages for most employees in its contract negotiations with auto workers. Ford previously offered a 9% bump, while the union sought 46%.
  • UAW says that 97% of its membership has voted to authorize a strike if an agreement isn’t reached by the expiration of the current four-year contract on Sep. 14.
  • UAW president Shawn Fain called a recent wage increase offer by GM “insulting.”
  • One week out from the expiration of contracts for about 150,000 members of the United Auto Workers, the union has yet to reach an agreement with Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler parent Stellantis.
  • A 2019 strike against GM led to $3.6 billion in lost earnings and a production loss of 300,000 vehicles.

GM’s offer includes a 10% increase in wages for most employees, a 56% wage rate increase over the term of the contract for current entry-level in-progression employees, and a 20% increase to $20 per hour for current temporary employees. The company also offered two additional 3% lump sum payments and inflation-related bonuses, among other adjustments.

Ford also updated its pay offer, including an average $4.33-per-hour increase for about 8,000 UAW-affiliated employees. It says that 80% of Ford’s 57,000 UAW-represented hourly employees are at the top wage rate of $32 per hour on average. Last week, Ford said it offered a 9% wage increase through 2027, while the union sought a 46% bump.

Protracted negotiations between workers and auto companies must reach an end by the expiration of the current labor agreement on Sept. 14 to avoid a possible strike. The bargaining has been plagued by challenges, with the UAW filing unfair labor practice charges against Stellantis and GM with the National Labor Relations Board last week, related to negotiations. The expiring contract includes about 150,000 auto workers across the three companies.

UAW president Shawn Fain called GM and Ford’s offers “insulting,” and said the union’s goal is not a strike. However, the union has said 97% of members voted to authorize a strike if no agreement is achieved. A breakdown in the last round of negotiations led to a 40-day strike against GM in 2019, resulting in a production loss of 300,000 vehicles and $3.6 billion in earnings.

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