UAW Files Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against General Motors and Stellantis

Bryan Jung
By Bryan Jung
September 2, 2023Business News
UAW Files Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against General Motors and Stellantis
Fliers are passed out as United Automobile Workers (UAW) members gather at an event in Warren, Mich., on Aug. 20, 2023. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Auto Workers filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), against General Motors and Chrysler-parent Stellantis, accusing the automakers of refusing to bargain in good faith.

Last week, the UAW announced, that about 97 percent of union members voted in favor of authorizing a strike if an agreement is not reached by Sept. 14.

The current four-year labor agreements with the Big Three cover 146,000 workers.

According to court documents, the UAW accused automakers of refusing to bargain in good faith over wages and benefits over the last six months.

UAW President Shawn Fain told members on Aug. 31, that the two automakers have yet to provide union negotiators with any counteroffers, after they presented them with economic proposals in July.

“GM and Stellantis’ willful refusal to bargain in good faith is not only insulting and counterproductive, it’s also illegal,” said Mr. Fain.

“That’s why today our union filed unfair labor practice charges, or ULPs, against both GM and Stellantis with the National Labor Relations Board,” he said.

Both Detroit-based automakers have denied the unfair labor charges.

The UAW accused automakers of wanting to close domestically based auto plants and move their jobs to low-wage countries.

Detroit Automakers Reject Allegations by UAW

The UAW chief stated that both parties were far apart and that they were willing to fight “to get our equitable share of justice for workers.”

“We can get there—but these companies better buckle down and they better get serious,” said Mr. Fain.

“Stellantis has not received the filing, but is shocked by Mr. Fain’s claims that we have not bargained in good faith,” Ann Marie Fortunate, a Stellantis spokeswoman, told The Epoch Times.

“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,” she added.

“We will vigorously defend this charge when the time comes, but right now we are more focused on continuing to bargain in good faith for a new agreement. We will not allow Mr. Fain’s tactics to distract us from that important work to secure the future for our employees,” said Ms. Fortunate.

GM Executive Vice-President of Global Manufacturing, Gerald Johnson, strongly refuted the unfair labor charges.

Through a spokesman, Mr. Johnson told The Epoch Times, “We are surprised by and strongly refute the NLRB charge filed by the International UAW. We believe it has no merit and is an insult to the bargaining committees.”

“We have been hyper-focused on negotiating directly and in good faith with the UAW and are making progress,” he said.

“The pace of negotiations is based on how quickly both parties resolve nearly 1,000 UAW demands, including more than 90 presented this week. Our goal remains the same—to achieve an agreement without a disruption that rewards our team members and protects the future of the entire GM team,” added Mr. Johnson.

Ford and Autoworkers Union Appear to Be Coming to Terms

Meanwhile, Ford Motor Company offered the union a 9 percent wage increase through 2027, far less than the 46 percent wage hike demanded.

Ford said its latest offer would provide hourly employees with 15 percent guaranteed combined wage increases, lump sum payment, and improved benefits.

“Overall, this offer is significantly better than what we estimate workers earn at Tesla and foreign automakers operating in the U.S.,” Ford said.

The UAW president swiftly rejected that proposal.

“We will accept nothing less than consistent living wages that will grow with the economy,” Mr. Fain said in the press statement.

“If Ford thinks we will accept a single-digit pay increase and no cost-of-living allowance, then I hope these shareholders know how to work on an assembly line—because those are going to be the only people left to build cars come Sept. 15,” he said.

The UAW accused Ford of avoiding hiring caps on temporary workers, who they want to be made full-time, since they would not be able to participate in profit sharing, while typically earning less than 60 percent of what top wage earners received.

Labor leaders also criticized the company for giving inferior health care benefits for part-time employees.

The company said that only 2 to 3 percent of its regular workforce were temporary employees.

The UAW demanded that new contracts include an immediate 20 percent wage increase, followed by defined benefit pensions for all workers, restoration of retiree health care benefits, shorter work weeks, and pay raises that consider rising cost of living wages.

Ford agreed to raise starting pay for temp workers to $20 an hour, accepted the 20 percent increase, and offered permanent employees $12,000 cost-of-living adjustments in a new contract.

The UAW said Ford’s profit-sharing formula change would have cut payouts by 21 percent over the last two years, while Ford said it was offering a $5,500 signing bonus upon the contract’s ratification for permanent and temporary workers.

The union did not file charges against Ford.

The Epoch Times reached out to the UAW for comment.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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