The United Auto Workers union will strike against Detroit automakers if the parties do not reach a labor agreement by Thursday’s deadline at 11:59 p.m. ET, UAW President Shawn Fain said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Fain’s comments came the morning after he outlined his plans to local union leaders regarding carry out targeted strikes on certain General enginesFord Motor and Stellantis factories, if agreements are not reached by Thursday.
“As it stands right now, all three will probably be hit unless we come to an agreement by midnight on September 14,” Fain told CNBC’s Phil LeBeau on Wednesday when asked if Ford is least likely to be hit. “All three are expected to meet the expectations of their workers and if they fail to do so, action will be taken.”
Targeted strikes refer to work stoppages only at certain plants, related to local contract issues experienced by many, if not most, facilities. This differs from national strikes in which all union members walk out of factories, which took place four years ago during the last round of negotiations with GM.
Fain said the UAW and automakers “have a lot of work” to do, but he believes the parties can reach contracts before the deadline.
“We can make it happen, but businesses need to get serious and step up,” he said.
Shawn Fain, president of United Auto Workers, greets workers at the Stellantis Sterling Heights assembly plant, to mark the start of contract negotiations in Sterling Heights, Michigan, United States, July 12, 2023.
Rebecca Cook | Reuters
Fain said Wednesday the union continues to seek double-digit wage increases. The UAW recently requested raises of 36 percent, down from initial requests of 40 percent. The union’s raise proposals to automakers have not fallen below 30%, he said.
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 points on the table. .
Ford CEO Jim Farley said Tuesday evening that the company remains “optimistic that we can reach an agreement with the UAW in the next couple of days.”
However, he added that there were limits to what Ford was willing to offer.
Farley said the company’s latest offer includes “salary increases, removal of tiers, inflation protection, five weeks of vacation, 17 paid holidays (and) higher pension contributions.”
“Today we are offering the most generous offer in 80 years from UAW and Ford,” Farley said at the 2024 Ford F-150 reveal in Detroit. “This is a significant improvement, we remain optimistic about reaching a deal. But there is a limit because we need to protect for the future, future investments and the profitability of the company that finances them.”
Farley said Ford “would not support” a four-day work week.