General Motors CEO Mary Barra speaks with reporters following a meeting with lawmakers from Michigan and Ohio at the U.S. Capitol on June 5, 2019 in Washington, DC.
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DETROIT – General engines is trying to stave off a looming strike by the United Auto Workers union by offering a new offer Thursday that includes significant pay raises, more vacation days and better benefits for retirees, among other perks.
The proposal, which GM CEO Mary Barra called “compelling and unprecedented,” meets many of the union’s demands but falls short of others, such as a 40 percent wage increase over the four years of the agreement sought by the UAW.
GM released details of the agreement about nine hours before the UAW could launch targeted strikes against GM, Ford engine And Stellantis if deals aren’t closed by 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday.
“We are at a crossroads on the path to building a business that can support us all for decades to come,” Barra said in a public letter. “Today we put on the table a compelling and unprecedented economic package that reflects the importance of this critical moment.”
GM’s latest offer matches several provisions of a Ford proposal made public by the UAW. last night. But it still falls short of the union’s public demands on several essential points.
Automakers warned Thursday of the potential effects of complying with the UAW’s terms.
Ford Sources said the automaker would have lost $14.4 billion over the past four years if the current requirements had been applied, instead of recording nearly $30 billion in profits. UAW President Shawn Fain appears determined to achieve these terms.
The sources, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because of ongoing discussions, also rejected the UAW’s argument that members do not earn a living wage. They said the average compensation under Ford’s current proposal for first-year UAW employees would be $132,000, including $92,000 in cash and $17,500 in health care coverage.
Here are the key elements of the GM offer made Thursday:
- Salary: A 20% increase over the duration of the four-year contract, with a 10% increase in the first year. That’s up from 18% in GM’s last offer. The UAW has demanded raises of 40 percent over the life of the contract, which they say is in line with pay increases seen by CEOs of Detroit automakers in recent years.
- A faster path to top pay: Under the current contract, newly hired workers receive incremental pay increases over time, reaching the highest salaries in eight years. GM’s proposal reduces that period to four years. The UAW demanded an end to the tier system.
- Inflation protection: GM’s offer includes an unspecified level of cost-of-living protection for top-wage earners, meaning wages will rise to – in theory at least – keep pace with inflation. inflation. The union demanded a return to a more generous system used in the past.
- Job security: GM promises not to close any of its U.S. manufacturing or warehousing facilities for the duration of the contract.
- Work-life balance: GM previously proposed recognizing June 17 as a holiday. It now offers up to five weeks of vacation and two weeks of parental leave. That matches Ford’s offer on Wednesday, at the time the only proposal that included parental leave. The UAW demanded more time off, including a four-day work week.
“We are working with urgency and have proposed a new, increasingly strong offer with the goal of reaching an agreement this evening,” Barra said in the letter. “Remember: we had a strike in 2019 and no one won.”
The union’s main demands included hourly wage increases of 40%, a reduced work week to 32 hours, a return to traditional pensions, elimination of pay tiers and reinstatement of cost of living adjustments, among others .
Ford’s most recent proposal includes a 20% pay increase over the four-year period; Ratification bonuses of $6,500; elimination of wage levels at two component and parts factories; a cost of living adjustment; cut in half the time needed to reach full salary for four years; and other benefits.
This is a developing story. Please check back for more details.