Auto Workers Strike Politics

United Auto Workers members march through downtown Detroit on Sept. 15. Paul Sancya/Associated Press

DETROIT — General Motors Co. has put a new counteroffer to the United Auto Workers on the table, the automaker said Thursday, as the union signaled plans to make a new strike announcement on Friday.

“We can confirm that we provided a counter offer to the UAW’s most recent proposal – our sixth since the start of negotiations,” GM spokesperson David Barnas said in a statement. “We believe we have a compelling offer that would reward our team members and allow GM to succeed and thrive into the future. We continue to stand ready and willing to negotiate in good faith 24/7 to reach an agreement.”

The company did not detail its latest proposal. News of the offer being presented comes as the UAW on Thursday said it planned to have another “stand-up announcement” at 2 p.m. Friday. For the past few weeks, UAW President Shawn Fain has been announcing expansions of the union’s auto strike, on its 21st day Thursday, during Facebook Live events on Fridays.

The union’s targeted strike of all three Detroit automakers began with walkouts at GM’s Wentzville Assembly plant in Missouri, Ford Motor Co.’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, and the Stellantis NV Jeep plant in Toledo on Sept. 15. It has since expanded to 38 GM and Stellantis parts distribution centers across the country, and most recently to Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant and GM’s Lansing Delta Township plant.

The UAW has been using a strike strategy in which leaders call on more workers to join the strike if sufficient progress hasn’t been made at the bargaining table, a tactic the union has said enables greater flexibility. GM is the only one of the three automakers that has not been spared in expansions of the strike.

Some 25,300 autoworkers out of the roughly 146,000 who are represented by the UAW now are on strike.


The union gave its latest counteroffer to GM on Monday. At the time, the company said it was “assessing” the proposal but that “significant gaps” remained. The UAW has not publicly detailed its latest demands or offers.

GM also has not disclosed many specifics of its offers, but previously offered a 20% wage increase over the length of the contract, a reduction of half of the time it takes workers to reach the top of the pay scale, raises for temporary workers, and elimination of some wage tiers, among other items.

Meanwhile, Ford on Tuesday said it made its seventh and “strongest” offer to the union. The Dearborn automaker’s latest offer includes product commitments for every UAW-represented plant in the United States, an increase in starting pay for temporary workers to $21 per hour, conversion upon ratification of all temporary workers with at least three months of continuous service, and a wage increase of “more than 20%.”

It also includes the restoration of cost-of-living allowances, elimination of wage tiers that currently have workers at components plants on different wage scales than assembly plant workers, and reducing by “more than half” the time it takes workers to reach the top of the wage scale.

But one key sticking point, according to Ford, is the issue of electric-vehicle battery plants. The company has said the union is taking a “hard line” on the issue and “holding the deal hostage” over it.

Stellantis last week was spared from more of its plants joining the strike after it moved on several issues right before new strike targets were announced.


The Jeep and Ram maker made progress in talks with the union on areas including cost-of-living adjustments that had been suspended in 2009, the right not to cross a picket line, the right to strike over product commitments and plant closures, and an outsourcing moratorium.

The UAW initially sought a non-compounded wage increase of 40% over the length of the contract. It’s also seeking stronger job security language, elimination of a tiered wage system, restoration of pensions for all workers, the right to strike over plant closures and other items.

The union has not publicly commented on the latest offers it has gotten from the companies, but Fain is expected to update members on where negotiations stand during the live-streamed event on Friday.

The strike, which is the first time the UAW has conducted work stoppages at all three automakers at the same time, has had ripple effects on production across the companies as well as their suppliers.

Most recently, Ford said it was temporarily laying off about 400 workers at its Livonia Transmission and Sterling Axle plants because of production impacts tied to the strike at Chicago Assembly Plant, which builds the Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator, and police utility vehicles. In all, Ford has temporarily laid off about 1,330 workers due to the strike.

GM has laid 2,175 workers at plants that supply plants that are on strike or that use parts from those plants.

The union is providing the equivalent of strike pay, $500, to its members who are laid off and not eligible for unemployment benefits.

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