detroit —The president of the United Auto Workers union, Shawn Fainsaid on Friday that although automakers in detroit have increased their salary and benefit offers, he believes the union can earn more by holding out in contract negotiations longer.
In a Facebook Live broadcast, Fain did not announce any more plants to add to those that have been on strike for up to five weeks. But he warned that the UAW could announce an extension of its strikes at any time, depending on the progress it makes in its negotiations with the auto companies.
In the last 24 hours, Stellantis and General Motors have made salary offers that match that of ford23% over a four-year contractFain said. But, in his characteristically pointed tone, the union president insisted that companies can go further.
“We have cards left to play, and they have money left to spend”said.
Arguing that Ford is “pretending it can’t afford what we’re asking for,” Fain said the company has complained about the union walkout at the Kentucky truck plant in Louisville, which has had to close. That is Ford’s largest and most profitable plant in the world.
Although Fain said the UAW will push for more generous offers from automakers, he addressed union members who have said they are willing to vote on deals. Fain said the companies are trying to split the union.
“They just want to wait until we get tired,” he said. “They want to divide. They want fear and they want uncertainty. “What we have is solidarity.”
Although Fain said companies continue to tout that they have made record offers to the UAW, he said they are insufficient to make up for the backlog workers have suffered over the past two decades.
In a statement, GM said it made an offer on Friday with “substantial movement in all key areas with the goal of reaching a final agreement with the UAW and getting our people back to work”.
Stellantis stated that the company and the union have made progress in reducing differences on significant issues “that will bring immediate economic benefits and job security to our employees.” The company said it is focused on resolving the issues as quickly as possible.
Ford has claimed that, among the three automakers, its contract offers to the UAW have been the most generous.
All three companies have said they cannot raise labor costs to the point that they do not have enough to invest in new vehicles and factories.
GM said its offer raises pay for most of the workforce to $40.39 an hour, or about $84,000 a year, at the end of a four-year contract. This is a 23% increase over the $32.32 per hour earned by most factory workers.
Fain said GM refused to match Ford’s offer to give workers the right to strike over plant closures. GM and Stellantis have also failed to match Ford in restoring cost-of-living increases to 2009 levels, when workers gave up inflation-absorbing increases as companies were in financial peril.
It is unclear when Fain will call more workers on strike to join the 34,000 already on strike at six vehicle assembly plants and 38 parts distribution warehouses.