CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. – Day five of the United Auto Workers strike sees its members on the picket line at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant on South Torrance, demanding better offers from the automaker.
Ford executives have put forth what they deem a generous offer, which includes “record pay and benefits, as well as layoff protection” for their 57,000 UAW employees. However, workers on the picket line expressed their desire for more substantial concessions.
For temporary employees, the latest offer from the company includes a 26% pay increase and a path to permanent status after three months. Permanent workers were offered over a 20% raise, increased 401k contributions, comprehensive healthcare coverage, and an elimination of tiers, allowing all employees to reach the top wage rate.
Krystal Edwards, a UAW member with 13 years of experience at Ford, believes the Monday offer is insufficient.
“If they say they’re going to give us a 20 percent pay raise, that’s 5 percent over the life of the contract, which is four years. The last contract was three, is that an improvement? Absolutely. Is that enough? No,” she said.
The strike comes in the wake of 250 layoffs at Ford’s Stamping Facility in Chicago Heights. Ford’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, Liz Door, cautioned that if the strike persists, it could negatively affect other Ford factories, potentially leading to hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs.
The United Auto Workers Union has outlined its demands, which include pay increases, shorter workweeks, and improved pension and healthcare plans. While Ford has made an offer, the union views the strike extension as necessary to secure more favorable terms.
Local 551 President Chris Pena questioned Ford’s approach.
“Why didn’t they come to the bargaining table on time? Why do they make us wait? Why are they holding out and wasting billions of dollars of profits when they could be investing in the American worker? That’s why we’re here. The American Dream is what we’re fighting for,” he said.