UAW has made 'real progress' with Ford on many issues, still work to do with GM & Stellantis

Posted at 10:50 AM, Sep 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-22 23:16:17-04

(WXYZ) — United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said the union has made progress in negotiations with Ford over the past week, getting movement on many issues the union has been asking for.

In an update on Friday morning, Fain called on all parts distribution centers for General Motors and Stellantis to go on strike, but no new Ford facilities. The only Ford plant that is on strike is the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne.

UAW president announces second wave of plant targets in Stand Up Strike

"Obviously, going on strike is not something we take lightly, and it's not something we do without a clear strategy to win," Fain said.

He outlined what's been going on in negotiations recently, saying, "this last week, we have made some real progress with Ford. We're not there yet, but I want you to see the direction Ford is going, and what we think that means for our contract fight."

In a statement after Fain's update, Ford said, "Ford is working diligently with the UAW to reach a deal that rewards our workforce and enables Ford to invest in a vibrant and growing future. Although we are making progress in some areas, we still have significant gaps to close on the key economic issues. In the end, the issues are interconnected and must work within an overall agreement that supports our mutual success."

When it comes to wage tiers, Fain said the Rawsonville Components and Sterling Axle employees will be on the same wage scale as assembly employees. Fain also said the reinstated the cost-of-living allowance at Ford that was suspended in 2009.

"UAW family, that's important, because many people said that couldn't be done, and we just did it," Fain said.

According to Fain, workers at Ford can also strike over plant closures during the life of the agreement, and there is income security for up to 2 years with healthcare in the event of an indefinite layoff.

Finally, Fain said there will be an enhanced profit-sharing formula, and the immediate conversion of all temps, and all temps getting profit-sharing after 90 days.

"To be clear, we're not done at Ford. We still have serious issues to work through, but we do want to recognize that Ford is showing they're serious about reaching a deal. At GM and Stellantis, it's a different story," Fain said.

Sandy Kirkland who works at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant says she's happy the company and UAW have made some progress.

I have a lot of faith in our negotiators and I really have a lot of faith in Ford that they don’t want this strike," said Kirkland. "They want to make trucks just like we want to be build trucks.”

General Motors released a statement on Friday around 1:30 p.m. EDT. It reads:

“Today’s strike escalation by the UAW’s top leadership is unnecessary. The decision to strike an additional 18 of our facilities, affecting more than 3,000 team members plus their families and communities, adds validity to the blueprint identified in last night’s leaked texts -- that the UAW leadership is manipulating the bargaining process for their own personal agendas.

We have contingency plans for various scenarios and are prepared to do what is best for our business, our customers, and our dealers.

We have now presented five separate economic proposals that are historic, addressing areas that our team members have said matters most: wage increases and job security while allowing GM to succeed and thrive into the future. We will continue to bargain in good faith with the union to reach an agreement as quickly as possible.”