With about two weeks to go before the United Auto Workers’ contracts with the Big Three automakers expire, the union has accused General Motors and Stellantis of failing to bargain in good faith.
UAW President Shawn Fain announced during a Facebook Live post on Thursday night that the union has filed unfair labor practice charges against the two companies with the National Labor Relations Board because of their “willful refusal to bargain in good faith,” which he called insulting and counterproductive.
Fain said GM
have “failed to give us any economic counters” and that “their top leadership have ditched bargaining.”
The filings, dated Aug. 31 and seen by MarketWatch, do not go into any specifics. The UAW used identical language to allege that the two companies have refused to bargain in good faith over mandatory subjects such as wages and benefits for the past six months.
Both companies seemed to be caught off guard.
“We are surprised by and strongly refute the NLRB charge filed by the International UAW,” said Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president for global manufacturing, in a statement. “We believe it has no merit and is an insult to the bargaining committees.” Johnson said the company has been “hyper-focused” on negotiations and that there has been progress.
Stellantis spokesperson Jodi Tinson said the company had not received the filing but “is shocked by Mr. Fain’s claims that we have not bargained in good faith. This is a claim with no basis in fact, and we are disappointed to learn that Mr. Fain is more focused on filing frivolous legal charges than on actual bargaining.”
See: Why United Auto Workers are fighting to end a two-tier system for wages and benefits
Meanwhile, Fain expressed dissatisfaction with Ford Motor’s
counterproposals, including the company’s offers of a 9% wage increase over the life of a four-year contract versus the union’s demand for a 46% increase over the life of the contract. He also said Ford has rejected all of the UAW’s job security proposals, and a demand that Juneteenth be a paid holiday, among other things.
In response to a request for comment, a Ford spokesperson referred MarketWatch to a statement on the company’s website, which includes the following: “Overall, this offer is significantly better than what we estimate workers earn at Tesla and foreign automakers operating in the U.S.”
The UAW said last week that 97% of its members voted to strike if no deal is reached. A strike could begin right after the contract expires at 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sept. 14.
Also: Energy Department to help fund EV-factory updates as issue percolates in UAW talks