The United Automobile Workers union is preparing to strike at Detroit’s Big Three vehicle manufacturers as contract negotiations remain strained ahead of the deadline just before midnight Thursday.
Union President Shawn Fain said Wednesday that General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, formerly known as Chrysler, increased initial wage offers while rejecting some other demands, The Associated Press reported.
“We do not yet have offers on the table that reflect the sacrifices and contributions our members have made to these companies,” Fain said. “To win we’re likely going to have to take action. We are preparing to strike these companies in a way they’ve never seen before.”
If the union and the Big Three do not come to an agreement, it would be the first time in the union’s history that its members would strike at all three companies at the same time.
The union began by demanding 40% raises over a four-year contract, but lowered its demand to 36%. The union is also seeking raises to correspond to the cost of living, an end to tiered-wages for factory jobs, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay and pension increases, among other things.
The current top pay for a factory worker is $32 per hour. Fain said Wednesday that Ford offered a 20% raise over 4½ years, GM offered 18% over four years and Stellantis proposed 17.5%.
The 146,000-member union is planning what it calls a “Stand Up Strike,” which would “keep the companies guessing as to where and when the next local walkout would be,” Fain said.
The union has received support from several politicians, including New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.