CompaniesFord Motor CoFollowGeneral Motors CoFollowStellantis NVFollow
July 10 (Reuters) – The United Auto Workers union said on Monday it would open contract talks with Detroit’s big three automakers starting Thursday, ahead of the mid-September expiration of the current four-year contract.
The union said talks would open Thursday with Chrysler parent Stellantis (STLAM.MI), Friday with Ford Motor (FN) and July 18 with General Motors (GM.N) on deals covering about 150,000 U.S. workers.
UAW President Shawn Fain has repeatedly said that the UAW wants to eliminate the two-tier wage system under which new hires make up to 25% less than veterans. He also said the union will push to restore cost-of-living wage improvements and cut benefits for retirees during the 2008-2009 Great Recession.
Breaking with tradition, the UAW will forego the traditional media event of shaking hands with company executives to mark the formal opening of talks. Instead, UAW leaders will meet with auto workers Wednesday at three Detroit-area plants to mark the start of talks.
“I will shake hands with CEOs when they come to the table with an agreement that reflects the needs of the workers who make this industry run,” Fain said in a statement Monday.
Detroit automakers have doubled down on cost cuts, saying they will help finance an accelerated transition from gasoline to electric vehicles.
Analysts said automakers will face billions of dollars in losses on EVs in the coming years as they replace high-volume combustion vehicles with low-volume EVs powered by expensive batteries.
On Monday, GM said it has “a long history of negotiating fair contracts with the UAW that reward our employees and support the long-term success of our business” and said its “total compensation package … is one of the best in the industry.”
Ford CEO Jim Farley said in an opinion piece published in the Detroit Free Press last week that “Success in this new world will require us to adapt. Some jobs will be lost and others will be created.” Late last month, Ford underwent another round of job cuts.
UAW Vice President Chuck Browning said in a response to Farley on Monday that hourly workers received “unfairly disproportionate” pay.
The UAW in May said it had not yet approved the re-election of US President Joe Biden, citing his EV policies. Fain called a Biden administration plan to lend $9.2 billion to a joint venture by Ford and South Korea’s SK On to build three U.S. battery plants a huge “giveaway” without “any consideration for wages.” , working conditions, trade union rights or pension security”.
The White House said it had named Counsel Gene Sperling as a “point person” in union talks at the UAW automaker.
Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington Editing by David Gregorio and Matthew Lewis
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