As a tense standoff between the United Auto Workers union or UAW and the Big Three automakers continues over the terms of contract renewal, GM President Mark Reuss and GM Executive Vice President, Global Manufacturing and Sustainability Gerald Johnson said the automaker has received almost 1,000 demands from the union.
Talking in a recent video, the pair also noted that the UAW has been pressuring GM and the other Big Three members – Ford and Stellantis – to make costly and potentially damaging concessions.
Speaking in the video posted on the GM contract negotiation website, Reuss and Johnson provided an overview of the current state of negotiations and GM’s viewpoint on the process. Reuss opened the video by pointing out many GM workers who are UAW members may not fully understand the negotiation process, since about a fifth of them were hired since the previous contract talks.
Reuss remarked that GM has “a long history of achieving fair agreements without a strike,” to which Johnson responded that the previous 2019 negotiations did result in a strike he said harmed UAW members, GM, and customers. As a result, he said, “we are working hard to resolve the nearly 1,000 demands we received from the union.”
Johnson also stated that the automaker has “received numerous presidential demands with significant costs attached that would threaten our ability to maintain our manufacturing momentum.” He did not specific exactly what UAW President Shawn Fain’s demands entailed.
The two executives’ statements echoed in more general terms the claim by former Cadillac head Johan de Nysschen that meeting UAW demands – including a 46 percent pay raise and a 32-hour work week – would bankrupt GM and other Big Three companies.
Meanwhile, the UAW says it might call an unprecedented simultaneous strike across all three major automakers if they fail to meet its major demands by the rapidly approaching September 14th deadline. The union president Shawn Fain claims workers received only below-inflation, 3 percent raises over the past several years while GM and the other companies earned “record” profits.
President Joe Biden has also made his opinion on the matter public, expressing confidence that a UAW strike won’t happen – an assertion Shawn Fain scoffed at, remarking “he must know something we don’t know.”