Negotiations between the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union and the Big Three automakers, including General Motors, are ongoing ahead of the expiration of the current labor contracts next month. Reports indicate that little progress has been made thus far in reaching a new agreement. Now, UAW union members are set to vote on strike authorization next week.
“Whether or not there’s a strike next month is entirely up to the Big Three automakers,” said UAW president Shawn Fain in a statement, per a recent report from Reuters. Fain is set to address the ongoing contract negotiations, plus preparations for next week’s strike authorization vote, on Facebook Live later today. UAW members include 150,000 auto workers from General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.
The current labor contracts are set to expire September 14th. Just yesterday, President Biden weighed in on the ongoing negotiations in a statement urging both sides to come to an agreement that supports the middle class, while also continuing the auto industry’s transition to “a clean energy future.”
“The UAW helped create the American middle class and as we move forward in this transition to new technologies, the UAW deserves a contract that sustains the middle class,” President Biden’s statement reads.
Recent reports cite an anonymous source indicating that the UAW’s contract demands may result in an extra $80 billion in annual labor costs. The UAW is reportedly seeking a 40-percent pay hike over the course of a four-year contract, including a 20-percent increase upon ratification. The labor union points to 40-percent pay raises for the CEOs at the Big Three automakers as justification for worker pay increases.
GM has criticized the proposal, stating it “would threaten our ability to do what’s right for the long-term benefit of the team. We think it’s important to protect U.S. manufacturing and jobs in an industry that is dominated by non-unionized competition.”
UAW workers staged a strike in 2019, which included the walkout of nearly 50,000 GM employees from roughly 50 plants across the U.S. The strike lasted six weeks, ending after GM conceded to union demands concerning health care costs and wage growth.