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‘They’ve got a lot of territory to cover,’ local business professor says of UAW contract negotiations

Contract negotiations continue between the Big 3 automakers and members of the United Auto Workers Union.

The UAW has some big demands, including a 46% pay raise, a 32-hour work week on a 40-hour week pay scale, an end to tiered wages, and an increase to retirees’ pensions.

With just six days before current contracts expire, negotiations are coming down to the wire.


UAW Local 372 member Christina Bius said contract negotiations are different this time around, and they are poised to strike.

“It’s a whole new ballgame. ... We are completely 100% ready,” said Bius.

With negotiations between the big three and the UAW still far apart, people could be walking off the lines in less than a week.

On Friday, Stellantis workers held a rally at the Trenton engine plant in Metro Detroit, expressing their frustrations.


“We went through recessions, we went through bankruptcies with this company, and they’ve taken and taken and taken it and we’ve never gotten anything back,” said UAW Local 372 Financial Secretary Tammy Patrick.

The counteroffer to the UAW’s demands for a wage increase of 46% over the next four years is just a portion of what was asked for.

Ford countered at 9% and GM said on Friday that they could do 10%.

“This is a negotiating process, and we are prepared to work long and hard to finalize an agreement,” said General Motors Executive Vice President Gerald Johnson.


UAW President Shawn Fain called GM’s counteroffer insulting.

Workers like Larry Davis, of Local 22′s Team Leader at Factory Zero GM said they’re done getting so little while the company continues to rake in the profits.

“In 2009, we took concessions, and the company has made billions, and they haven’t given anything back,” said Davis.

Automaker Stellantis, formerly known as Chrysler, counteroffered Friday afternoon at 14.5%.


With the clock ticking down, the two sides continue to be miles apart from what they want or are willing to give.

“They’ve got a lot of territory to cover. And it’s going to be difficult to make that ground up by Sept. 14,” said Dr. Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University.

It remains to be seen if they will be able to hash it out before contracts expire but GM President Mark Reuss said they are determined to continue talks that will make both sides happy.

“I’m confident that we have what it takes to win and win together. And that’s why we need a fair contract,” said Reuss.

All three major automakers have presented contract offers and all three have offered far below what the UAW has demanded.

It was last week when Ford said it offered a 9% wage increase through 2027. Much less than the UAW’s 46% ask.

General Motors offered 10% with two additional 3% lump sums. And Friday’s offer from Stellantis is the second counteroffer.

The first, handed over last month, proposed cuts on vacation days and 401(k) contributions, according to the UAW.

Shawn Fain made a show on a livestream, tossing the offer into the trash.

So far, all offers have been rejected.

If an agreement is not reached, more than 150,000 auto workers will go on strike, which is expected to cause $5 billion in losses in just the first 10 days.

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