Two of the “Big Three” automobile manufacturers based in Detroit, Michigan, have given in to weeks of pressure and signed new contract deals with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, leaving just Ford Motors with workers still on strike.
Reports in US media indicated on Monday that UAW had reached a tentative agreement with General Motors as the automaker agreed to meet the union’s contract demands.
Two days earlier, another automaker, Stellantis, made a similar agreement with the UAW, leaving only Ford with workers continuing to strike.
GM caved to UAW’s demands less than 48 hours after the union expanded its pressure on the company by sending 4,000 workers at the Spring Hill Assembly Plant in Tennessee out on strike.
The workers joined 40,000 others from numerous factories and other facilities owned by GM, Stellantis, and Ford, some of whom had been on strike since mid-September, in demanding better pay and benefits in their new employment contracts.
The shutdowns have paralyzed all three companies for more than six weeks, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses as UAW chief Shawn Fain accused the companies of low-balling the workers in their new contract offers.
Ford said it has lost $1.3 billion due to the work stoppage, and said that the UAW’s proposed deal would increase the labor cost per automobile by $850, while GM said the strike had cost them $800 million.
According to reports, one of the final sticking points in the GM-UAW talks was the nature of the company’s joint-venture plants for building electric vehicle batteries.
The deal agreed to on Monday will reportedly allow workers at those facilities to vote on unionizing future plants and to decide if they want their own contract or to be part of the master contract.
The new contract also includes a 25% wage increase over the next four years, which is a restoration of the cost-of-living adjustment increases that were sacrificed during the 2007-2008 financial crash, when several automakers required federal government bailouts.
The new contracts expire on April 30, 2028.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.