The leader of the United Auto Workers union on Tuesday asked members to grant him the ability to call a strike, arguing contract talks with the three major Detroit carmakers are moving too slow.
(Bloomberg) — The leader of the United Auto Workers union on Tuesday asked members to grant him the ability to call a strike, arguing contract talks with the three major Detroit carmakers are moving too slow.
The group has been negotiating with General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV for 30 days and the parties have yet to discuss economic terms, said Shawn Fain, the UAW president, in a Facebook Live webcast.
To move forward, Fain argued it was “critically important” that union locals at the three carmakers vote to authorize the strike. Their backing wouldn’t necessarily lead to a work stoppage, but could give the union leverage as it negotiates for higher pay and better benefits.
“Progress is slow. It’s too slow,” Fain said. “The Big Three need to get serious and get down to business.”
Earlier this year, Fain gave each carmaker a list of demands that included pay raises of more than 40%, inflation protection, better treatment of temporary workers and improved perks for retirees. The UAW also wants all workers paid the same wage, regardless of the job they do or whether they work on electric vehicles.
Read More: United Auto Workers Asks for 40% Pay Bump in ‘Audacious’ Demand
If the union got everything it demanded it would cost carmakers $80 billion over the four years of the deal, Bloomberg has reported.
The car companies have pushed back on many of the requests, arguing they already face higher labor costs in the US than Tesla Inc., European and Asian automakers.
Fain has held fast, saying in the Facebook Live event that automakers have profited from record new-car prices while union workers “live paycheck to paycheck.”
On Monday, President Joe Biden pressed the union and automakers to push for a resolution, asking for a fair agreement. He has also assigned economic adviser Gene Sperling to liase between the union and management.
Read More: Biden Urges Big Three, UAW to Reach ‘Fair’ Deal in Talks
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