UAW Makes Sizable Demands of GM, Ford, Stellantis

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

uaw makes sizable demands of gm ford stellantis

There has been loads of speculation about what the United Automobile Workers would be asking for during this year’s contract negotiations, with the assumption being that demands would be fairly lofty. Much of this was fueled by statements made by UAW leadership, especially those coming from President Shawn Fain.

Following its massive corruption scandal, union members sought a change in management and Fain is eager to prove himself as on the side of workers. He’s taken a more-adversarial approach to the industry than his predecessors and has promised to make up for ground lost over the last few decades. While demands were initially left vague, the UAW has since shared a series of specific proposals to be brought forward during contract negotiations with Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis. Compared to the standards we’ve become accustomed to, they are indeed lofty.

Earlier in the week, the union conducted a live stream outlining a list of 10 core demands slated to be presented this week. They include eliminating tier-based wages and benefits, double-digit wage increases, clearly defined pensions for all employees, the return of cost-of-living adjustments, and for companies to reintroduce medical benefits for retirees.

The union also said it would be seeking significant increases to retirement pay, stopping automakers from using “temporary workers” as a way to circumvent offering higher pay and benefits, additional paid time off for employees, and new programs that would help retain workers in the event of a plant closure or economic downturn — all while retaining its own right to strike whenever an automaker elects to close or stall production at any of its factories.

Those will be the specific demands. However, the UAW has said it would also like to see additional benefits and worker protections that go beyond the above.

Automotive News reported that Fain had also suggested pushing companies to move to a shortened 32-hour work week. This comes after numerous automakers have been mulling over ways to reduce overtime. A few have even dabbled in 10-hour work days that result in a third day off per week to maximize productivity without having to spend more on labor. The concept of a 32-hour week has been floated to help cope with recessions and ease workers into a future where more aspects of their jobs will be automated.

While previous experimentation with four-day work weeks has yielded mixed results in terms of productivity, the average employee seems to enjoy lessened burnout and higher job satisfaction overall. But it’s highly contingent on the kind of jobs that are being done. Many project-based workers simply found that they were taking more of their work home with them and ended up being pressured into laboring for free on their days off.

Either way, there may actually be some wiggle room here for automakers if there’s a chance of avoiding having to pay for overtime. But the UAW is still making some sizable requests, including numerous items manufacturers were probably happy not to have to deal with anymore. It’s unlikely that the industry is interested in meeting all of the union’s demands.

From Automotive News:

Fain on Tuesday also reiterated past comments that the union would not pick a traditional lead company to bargain with but would instead negotiate with all three simultaneously.
The union could face an uphill battle on many of its demands.
The automakers are likely open to wage increases but are expected to balk at reinstituting cost-of-living adjustments and pensions, according to sources.
Fain has insisted the automakers can afford the union's demands, pointing to their collective $250 billion in profits over the past 10 years. The newly-elected president has made a point of interacting with members on social media, like on Tuesday's Facebook stream, to get them on the same page heading into the potentially-contentious talks.
"This isn't a time for fighting amongst ourselves or division," Fain said. "This is a time to be united for a common cause. We have to do it, and we're going to deliver."

Fain has said striking remains an option and has warned the industry not to confuse today’s UAW with unions of the past. He says he’s committed to restoring ground lost since 2007 and will not settle for less than a major victory.

"If the companies want to brag about record profits, then it's time for record contracts," suggested the union head. "It's time for them to deliver for our members, and we're going to deliver for our members, come hell or high water."

[Image: Daniel J. Macy/Shutterstock]

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3 of 54 comments
  • Dartdude Dartdude on Aug 04, 2023

    UAW should focus on the real problems with wages. Until inflation is under control all workers will be hurt. UAW should be putting pressure on Biden to ramp up energy production and back off green fantasies. UAW leaders need to understand that one company Stellantis could choose to shut down Chrysler and Dodge brands and do their manufacturing in Canada and Mexico with the Ram and Jeep brands.

    • SC5door SC5door on Aug 04, 2023

      You're not going to get the volume out of FCA's 2 plants in Canada that's required for the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee---plus tossing in the Ram 1500 on top of that? LOL

  • Olddavid Olddavid on Aug 09, 2023

    I don't understand the vitriol toward unions. I also do not understand how Germany (VW BMW Merc) - with higher wages than the UAW - manages to remain profitable? I guess the population needs to revisit conditions of 1900-era living. The anti-vaxxers will have to decide which two of their children will go to whooping cough or polio or TB while the anti unionists will be able to relive being shot at by Carnegies Pinkertons in Colorado while being forced out or the glory days of locked fire escapes at Triangle Shirtwaist Co. Only a few dead. I guess they may have a point since profit is the true shrine of America. Those nasty union people should know their place.

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