‘Progress is slow,’ Fain said on MSNBC’s ‘The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.’ ‘I don’t really want to say we’re closer.’ Fain declined to say when he might announce a second wave of strikes.
September 17, 2023 08:46 AM
From staff and wire reports
The strike at Ford is the first since the 1970s. The UAW walked out at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.
“Progress is slow,” Fain said on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.” “I don’t really want to say we’re closer.”
Fain declined to say when he might announce a second wave of plants to join the strike that is now in its third day.
In a Friday press conference, he said “it could be in a day, it could be in a week.”
Later Sunday morning, on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Fain said the automakers’ most recent offers were insufficient. On Saturday, Stellantis released details of its most recent offer, which matched the 20 percent raises offered by GM and Ford.
“It’s definitely a no-go; we’ve made that very clear to the companies,” Fain said.
On both shows, Fain blasted recent comments by General Motors CEO Mary Barra that a majority of her compensation is based on performance.
“To say they’re paid for their performance, that’s completely incorrect,” Fain said. “They’re paid for our workers’ performance and it’s a shame that they make those millions off the backs of exploiting workers at poverty wages.”
Starting wages for newly hired, full-time hourly workers are around $18 per hour at all three companies. Wages top out at about $32 per hour after an eight-year grow-in period that the companies have offered to shrink to four years.
If the union achieves its demand for a 36 percent raise, starting wages would begin around $25 an hour.
Fain’s comments about slow progress Sunday followed word from a UAW source that the union “had reasonably productive conversations with Ford” on Saturday.
About 12,700 UAW workers remain on strike as part of a coordinated labor action targeting three U.S. assembly plants — one at each of the Detroit 3 automakers after the prior four-year labor agreements expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday.
Stellantis said main bargaining talks are to resume Monday, while some subcommittee negotiations are set for Sunday at GM. UAW President Shawn Fain is scheduled to appear on two national news programs Sunday.
Stellantis said Saturday it hiked its offer, proposing raises of 20 percent over a four-and-a-half-year contract term, including an immediate 10 percent hike. That matches proposals from GM and Ford.
The proposals are about half the 40 percent wage hike the UAW is demanding through 2027, including an immediate 20 percent boost.
Mark Stewart, the North American COO for Stellantis, told reporters Saturday the UAW rejected a proposal to resume operations at an assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill., noting its offer had been contingent on reaching agreement before the contract expiration.
In late February, Stellantis indefinitely idled operations at the Belvidere plant, citing rising costs of EV production.
The UAW criticized the company position on the Illinois plant saying now “they are now taking it back. That’s how they see these workers. A bargaining chip.”
Stellantis said late Saturday is willing to negotiate about the plant’s future. “The truth is UAW leadership ignored Belvidere in favor of a strike,” the company said.
The strikes have halted production at three plants in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri that produce the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and Chevrolet Colorado, along with other popular models.
On Friday, Ford said it was indefinitely laying off 600 workers at a Michigan plant because of the impact of the strike at the facility, which makes the Bronco, and GM told some 2,000 workers at a Kansas car plant that their factory likely would be shut down Monday or Tuesday due to a lack of parts, stemming from the strike at a GM Missouri plant.
Besides higher wages, the UAW is demanding shorter work weeks, restoration of defined benefit pensions and stronger job security as automakers make the EV shift.
Mike Martinez of Automotive News and David Shepardson of Reuters contributed to this report.