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As the auto workers’ strike enters its fourth day, both sides are continuing their efforts.
On the one hand there are the United Auto Workers who say record corporate profits must yield a record contract.
“If we don’t get better offers… we’re going to have to ramp this up even more,” UAW President Sean Fine warned on CBS’ Face Of The Nation.
On the other hand, there are the Big Three automakers – General Motors, Ford and Stellantis – which say they have historically brought generous offers to the table, while also emphasizing that there are limits.
“Our goal is to secure a sustainable future that provides all of our UAW-represented employees the opportunity to thrive in a company that will be competitive during the historic transformation of the automotive industry,” Stellantis said in a statement.
The talks continued over the weekend with no end in sight. The ripple effects have already begun.
Workers are unemployed and companies will not pay them
Ford has asked 600 workers not to report to work at the body building section of its Michigan assembly plant because the metal parts they make need to be painted immediately for protection, and the paint shop is on strike.
General Motors warned that 2,000 workers are expected to be out of work at its Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas this week. The company says this is due to a shortage of critical materials supplied by its stamping operations at its Wentzville, Missouri, plant.
The historic strike began just after midnight Friday, with 9% of the union’s roughly 150,000 members leaving their jobs. The three auto plants—General Motors’ assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, the Stellantis assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio, and part of the Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan—were the first to join the picket lines.
Companies usually give partial wages to workers when the factory is down.
But because in this case it was due to a strike, the companies say there is no such compensation. “We are operating under an expired agreement at Fairfax,” GM said in a statement. “Unfortunately, there are no provisions that allow for company-provided subpayment in these circumstances.”
The UAW says it will make sure affected workers are not left without income.
Here’s the latest.
- Union strategy: 13,000 auto workers at the three Midwest plants, about 9% of the unionized workforce at the Big Three automakers, were the first to leave their jobs. Now more workers are temporarily unemployed as automakers ask hundreds of non-striking workers not to come to work.
- Negotiation and demands: The UAW’s call for a 40% pay increase remains in place as negotiations continue. The agenda also includes pensions, cost of living adjustments and quality of life improvements.
- Interactions: President Biden urged automakers to share their profits with workers as the strike served as a test of his bid to be the “most pro-labor” president. He sent Julie Su, acting Secretary of Labor, and Gene Sperling, a senior White House adviser, to Detroit to help with the negotiations.
So far, the two sides have not made much progress, according to the federation.
“Progress is slow, and I don’t really want to say we’re any closer,” Fine told MSNBC on Sunday morning.
Finn said they intend to continue negotiations on Monday.