UAW turns down a 21 percent pay raise, holding out for 40.
On Sunday, UAW president Shawn Fain revealed that Stellantis offered a 21 percent pay raise on Saturday, which the union rejected.
“It’s definitely a no go,” Mr. Fain told CBS. “And we’ve made that very clear to the companies.”
“Decisions made during this process will either enable our workers and our Company to thrive or will take us backward and endanger the long-term competitiveness of our Company, negatively impacting our workers and our communities,” the company added amid the negotiations.
Mr. Fain defended the union’s demand of a 40 percent pay raise.
“The reason we asked for 40 percent pay increases is because in the last four years alone, the CEO pay went up 40 percent. They’re already millionaires,” he said, additionally criticizing one of the corporation heads for not negotiating personally.
“Our demands are just,” he argued. “We’re asking for our fair share in this economy and the fruits of our labor.”
In addition to the pay raises, the unions are also demanding an end to wage tiers for factory jobs, a 32-hour work week for 40 hours of pay, and the expansion of pension benefits.
There has been pushback on the 40 percent figure.
White House Support
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also said Biden administration policies have naturally led to the strike.
“The UAW strike and indeed the ‘summer of strikes’ is the natural result of the Biden administration’s ‘whole of government’ approach to promoting unionization at all costs,” Chamber President Suzanne Clark said in a statement.
Notably, the UAW has held out on endorsing President Biden as he makes his bid for reelection. The union endorsed him when he ran in 2020, but the president’s electric vehicle policies have created tension. Auto industry union workers are concerned the push for electric vehicle manufacturing may create fewer jobs, or fewer union jobs.
It’s led former President Donald Trump, the president’s main political rival for the 2024 race, to court autoworkers as the two spar over economic policy in public statements.
“I don’t know the gentleman, but I know his name very well, and I think he’s not doing a good job in representing his union, because he’s not going to have a union in three years from now. Those jobs are all going to be gone, because all of those electric cars are going to be made in China,” he said.
“If you take a look at what they’re doing with electric cars, electric cars are going to be made in China,” he said. “The auto workers are being sold down the river by their leadership, and their leadership should endorse Trump.”
“You’ve got to have choice, like in school. I want school choice. I also want choice for cars. If somebody wants gasoline, if somebody wants all electric, they can do whatever they want,” he added.
Talks continued on Saturday at all three companies after targeted strikes were initiated on Friday.
Previously, Ford CEO Jim Farley had rejected the 40 percent wage hike demand ahead of strikes as unworkable.
Update: This article has been updated to include comments from Stellantis.