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HomeBusinessGM and Ford CEOs clash with expanding UAW strikes in labor dispute.

GM and Ford CEOs clash with expanding UAW strikes in labor dispute.

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The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike, now in its third week, has escalated as union chief Shawn Fain ordered workers to walk off the job at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant and GM’s Lansing, Michigan, assembly plant. This move comes after negotiations between UAW leaders and the CEOs of GM and Ford reached a deadlock. The CEOs criticized the union for their lack of intent to reach an agreement, while the UAW responded by pointing out the hefty salaries of the CEOs. The strike has now affected around 25,000 UAW workers, who are demanding a 40% pay increase over a four-year contract.

The negotiations have reached a point of frustration, with both sides issuing strongly worded statements. Ford CEO Jim Farley accused the union of holding a deal “hostage” over a dispute regarding future electric vehicle battery plants. The union, on the other hand, accused Farley of not attending bargaining sessions. President Joe Biden has expressed support for the UAW’s demand for pay hikes, further complicating the negotiations. The total number of workers on strike has now reached 25,000, which is about 17% of the union’s members at the three automakers.

In an attempt to strategically pressure the companies, the UAW has chosen targeted walkouts rather than a mass strike. This approach has spared Stellantis from an escalation of the strike after last-minute concessions were made by the company. However, the strike is taking a toll on the union’s funds, with each worker costing $500 per week. With additional strikes at Mack Trucks facilities and Detroit-area casinos, the strike fund may be strained. The UAW is demanding higher wages and benefits at new electric vehicle battery plants, which the companies have offered pay hikes of only about 20% for. Overall, the negotiations remain far apart on key economic issues, and a resolution does not seem close at hand.

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