DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co raised its offer to striking auto workers on Friday, matching Ford’s offer of a 23% pay raise and other benefits improvements, hours before union President Sean Fine was scheduled to speak. On negotiations.
“We have taken significant action in all key areas in an effort to reach a final agreement with the UAW and get our employees back to work,” GM said in a statement as the strike entered its fifth week.
“The majority of our workforce will earn $40.39 per hour, or approximately $84,000 per year, by the end of the term of this agreement,” she said.
General Motors shares rose 1.4% in afternoon trading and Ford shares rose 1.1%.
More than 34,000 union members working in the three automakers have been on strike since the strikes began on September 15.
GM’s latest offer shows Detroit automakers converging on similar offers that would raise hourly pay for UAW workers by about 30% over the life of the deal, including cost-of-living payments. Ford, which received the best offer among the three companies, said it had reached the maximum of what it could pay and remain competitive.
The union, which launched its first simultaneous strikes against the three Detroit automakers, opened bargaining by demanding a 40% wage increase. The request included an immediate 20 percent raise, eliminating different pay scales among UAW workers and restoring defined benefit retirement plans. The union is also demanding that battery plant workers be covered under union agreements.
GM’s offer “suggests we may be in the final stretch,” said Harley Chaiken, a labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “Actually, Ford has set the dimensions of the model, but GM is contributing. We have a way to go, but there is clearly movement.”
Progress in the talks came after the UAW’s surprise strike last week at Kentucky’s largest truck plant, which generates $25 billion in annual sales and represents about one-sixth of the company’s worldwide auto revenue.
Fine described the Kentucky strike as a warning to General Motors and Stellantis, Chrysler’s parent company, saying the union is prepared to strike at GM’s assembly plant in Arlington, Texas, which makes the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Suburban and other large, high-quality cars. – SUV cars at prices.
GM said the new offer of a 23% general pay increase represents a 25% compound increase over the term of the agreement, with a 10% increase in the first year. With the rise in the cost of living, the offer reaches 30%. GM’s previous offer was a 20% salary increase.
It is also now offering a wage of $21 an hour to temporary workers, up from its previous offer of $20.
The UAW said in a statement that Fain will go live on Facebook at 4 p.m. ET to update members on developments after a week of “intense negotiations” with the Big Three.
Ford declined to comment on GM’s offer, and Stellantis had no immediate comment.
Chaiken said Ford has not talked about the joint battery factories being subject to the master agreement yet. “GM obviously wants to compromise, but Ford feels it has a good model to start with.”
Instead of the slam dunk of a mass strike that the UAW has historically practiced, the union is strategically pitting companies against each other, using waivers from expanded work stoppages as encouragement for various automakers.
The automakers said the union demands would significantly increase costs and hamper their electric vehicle ambitions, putting them at a disadvantage compared to electric vehicle leader Tesla and foreign brands such as Toyota, which are not members of the unions.
Ford CEO Bill Ford warned on Monday of the growing impact on the automaker and the US economy from the strike.
Total economic losses from the UAW strike have reached $7.7 billion, according to the latest data from economic consulting firm Anderson Economic Group, with the Detroit Three suffering losses of $3.45 billion.
(Reporting by Joseph White in Detroit and Abhijith Ganappavaram in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit and Pratyush Thakur in Bengaluru; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh. Edited by Sriraj Kalluvila, Peter Henderson, and David Gregorio
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