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UAW prepares for potential strike against Big Three

UAW President Shawn Fain told WTOL 11 that there will be a strike at Ford, GM and Stellantis if contract negotiations do not succeed before the Sept. 14 deadline.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The contracts between the UAW and the Big Three automakers are set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 14. After UAW membership approved the use of a national strike if the contentious contract negotiations fail, the union is preparing for that possibility.

UAW received counter offers from both Ford and General Motors. The company's first wage-and-benefit offers did not meet the union's initial demands, UAW President Shawn Fain said.

GM is offering a 10% wage increase during a new four-year contract, plus two more 3% one-time payments. It's also offering a $6,000 inflation payment, $5,000 more in lump sums over the life of the contract. The company declined to say when the pay raises or most of the lump sums would be effective, and it is likely this will not impact every employee.

Ford's offer was also rejected.

The lump-sum payments offer is contrary to what Fain has been seeking, he said. UAW wants annual pay raises, retiree pension payments and better work-life balances, all of which have not been accounted for by the Big Three, he said.

Last week, UAW filed unfair labor practices complaints against GM and Stellantis with the National Labor Relations Board before any of the Big Three had made counterproposals.

The union, citing large company profits over the last decade and CEO pay raises, is seeking 46% across-the-board pay raises over four years, a 32-hour week with 40 hours of pay, restoration of traditional pensions for new hires, union representation of workers at new battery plants, restoration of traditional pensions and elimination of wage tiers. Top-scale UAW assembly plant workers make about $32 an hour, plus annual profit-sharing checks.

The union was scheduled to make another offer in response to Ford's on Thursday. Stellantis said it would have a counterproposal by the end of the week.

Fain has conceded that the union won't get all of its demands in bargaining. He said the UAW would go on strike next week against any of the Big Three that have not reached a tentative contract agreement.

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