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Clock is ticking for negotiations between UAW, Big Three automakers

The UAW laid out what it wanted in a contract in August and then waited for a response from the Big Three. Only one made a counteroffer.

TOLEDO, Ohio — If a deal isn't reached by Sept. 14, 2023, at 11:59 p.m., it's looking increasingly likely there will be a United Auto Workers strike.

The UAW laid out what it wanted in a contract in August and then waited to hear from each of the Big Three. Ford was the only member of the Big Three to make a counteroffer, which UAW president Shawn Fain literally trashed in a social media video.

The UAW filed complaints against Stellantis and GM for unfair labor practices because neither made a counteroffer.

UAW Local 14 President Tony Totty said that autoworkers just want what they're owed.

"What we gave after the bankruptcy, to see the (companies) way to the other side. It's unfair because we gave, and there's a give and take throughout the history, our 90-year history," Totty said. "We know it's a partnership and they're not acting like good partners."

Detroit Automotive Radio Reporter Jeff Gilbert said from the outside looking in, a strike seems likely. 

"There's gonna be difficulty passing a tentative deal because they've been promised so much and the thought might be 'hey, wait a second. If we'd have gone on strike we could have gotten more,'" Gilbert said. "So, I would say the odds are heavily in favor of one or even all three car makers."

The deadline is looming for the Big Three.

"It comes up quick, so hopefully we can find an off-ramp to this because a strike isn't good for anybody.  But, if they're not willing to give us a fair deal, we're willing to go," Totty said. 

Totty stressed nothing about this situation is being taken lightly, for the more than 8,000 members locally who would be affected. 

"The union has called for a 40% pay hike," Gilbert said. "That's what they say the CEOs of the three companies have gotten in terms of raises over the last contract."

WTOL 11 reached out to Stellantis for comment. Stellantis spokesperson, Jodi Tinson, said the company is shocked by claims it hasn't bargained in good faith. 

"We will vigorously defend this charge when the time comes, but right now we are more focused on continuing to bargain in good faith for a new agreement," Tinson said. 

A statement from Ford's President and CEO, Jim Farley, said Ford is "committed to creating an opportunity for every UAW worker to build a great career at Ford." He went on to say the company "will not make a deal that endangers our ability to invest, grow and share profits with our employees. That would mortgage our future and would be harmful to everyone with a stake in Ford, including our valued UAW workers."

Nonetheless, the clock for negotiations is ticking and there are 13 days left, as we kick off the month of September 2023.

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