Oct 20, 2023 - Economy

UAW president Shawn Fain: Automakers have offered "record contracts" but union wants more

Factory workers and UAW union members form a picket line outside Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky, in the early morning hours of Oct. 14. Photo: Michael Swensen/Getty Images

UAW president Shawn Fain acknowledged Friday that the Detroit Three automakers have offered "record contracts," but said he wants more before agreeing to deals.

Why it matters: Nearly 34,000 UAW workers are on strike at six plants and 38 distribution parts facilities, marking the first time the union has targeted General Motors, Ford and Stellantis at the same time.

  • And Fain reiterated Friday that the union is prepared to expand the strike further if it's unsatisfied with the course of negotiations.

Zoom in: Stellantis and GM have made "serious movement" by offering 23% pay increases, he said. The union initially demanded 40% hikes.

  • "Both companies put a lot more money on the table," he said. But "we think there's more ground to gain."
  • He criticized Ford, saying the company "continues to stew" and "pretend they can't afford what we're asking for."

Ford executive chair Bill Ford Jr. this week visited the company's pickup plant in Dearborn, Michigan, to press workers to reach a settlement.

  • "This should not be Ford vs. the UAW. It should be Ford and the UAW vs. Toyota, Honda, Tesla and all the Chinese companies that want to enter our home market," Ford said.

Fain on Friday ripped Bill Ford's appearance, noting it came on the same day the company announced its fourth-quarter dividend.

  • "They're telling us there's no more money while they loot the company through the back door," Fain said.

Meanwhile, Fain provided a preview of what's to come after the strike ends, saying the UAW will attempt to organize non-unionized auto plants throughout the country.

  • "Non-union auto workers are not the enemy. Those are our future union family," he said. "We're going to organize non-union autoworkers everywhere. Together we're going to stand up and take on corporate greed."

The bottom line: The strike is now moving into its sixth week.

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