DETROIT (FOX 2) - For the first time in a week, UAW President Shawn Fain talked negotiations with Detroit's Big Three as Friday marks 36 days of the union' standup strike.
Fain announced a 4 p.m. ET update from the UAW's Solidarity House in Detroit. According to the notification from the UAW, Fain will be giving bargaining updates between the union and Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors.
The announcement started with an opening video from the UAW discussing sick time away from work for members. Fain then came on camera live, about 15 minutes later.
Fain said that, in the past 24 hours, two of Detroit's Big Three presented new offers but there was "still room to improve."
He then started by discussing UAW members striking against other organizations outside of Detroit's Big Three – including Mack Truck, General Dynamics – as well as the casino union members striking against Detroit's casino.
"At a time where there's endless money for war, somehow there's still no money for the working class," Fain said.
The union president then pivoted to the strike against Detroit's Big Three and urged members to continue the strike.
"Our ability to hold out, to hit the companies economically, and to withhold our labor, this is our leverage and this is our path to victory," he said.
Fain then said that Detroit's Big Three are trying to instill doubt into members when they speak and that the membership will vote when the leadership and council believe they've gotten every dollar they can from the automakers.
"There is more to be won," he said. "One thing we've been hearing over and over from these companies is how they've offered us record contracts. they stole that line from us, by the way, and we agree – these are record contracts but they come at the end of a record decline."
Fain said the strike last week against Ford's Kentucky plant sent a message to all three of Detroit's automakers and that Stellantis and GM have sat up and paid attention.
"In the past 24 hours, we've seen serious movement from both Stellantis and GM," he said.
Then Fain laid out a blistering attack on Ford, where he hit Executive Chair Bill Ford for his comments on how the UAW and Ford should be working together and not against each other.
The days of the UAW and Ford being a team to fight other companies are over. We won't be used in this phony competition. We will always and forever be on the side of working people everywhere," he said. "We're not going to partner with Ford on a race to the bottom."
Fain said, after the UAW movement, he plans to organize non-union auto companies everywhere.
Both Stellantis and General Motors put "a lot more money on the table" this week but that there's room to grow.
"As we saw with Ford, we took their biggest plant out and they haven't come back with anything new," he said. "This week, GM and Stellantis got the message loud and clear to catch up with Ford."
Fain said that GM is worrying, saying they need a two-tier wage progression because "they expect to do a lot of hiring" while also threatening product and refusing to give workers the right to strike over replant closures.
Fain showed that all three of Detroit's automakers have agreed to a 23% wage increase over the next four years. All three companies have also eliminated wage tiers while Ford has gotten the progression down to three years. GM is at three years while Stellantis is at four. Both of these are down from where the contract was, at eight years.
See more of what the big three are offering in the slideshow here, it includes all three companies granting Juneteenth as a federal holiday, plus two weeks of paid parental leave.
Over the first six weeks of the strike, Fain has spoken on Friday mornings to announce new UAW striking locations. That changed last week with the surprise strike of Ford's F-series plant in Kentucky. Fain said this change is because the automakers have been waiting until Friday mornings to make substantial changes to their offers because they know the announcement will be coming.
"We changed the rules and now there's only one rule - pony up," he said.
Fain's updates will come out just a few hours after General Motors' latest offer, which included 25% wage increases and reinstatement of Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA). The offer was made public just hours before the UAW president was expected to give an update on negotiations. Not included in the offer is GM's earlier inclusion of its future battery plants in the UAW's national master agreement that staved off an escalation of strike targets.
Read further details of GM's offer below the live player.
FOX 2 will stream Fain's updated remarks in their entirety in the live player below and at fox2detroit.com/live
What's in GM's offer to the UAW?
The details of the offer for most employees include:
- 25% compounded wage increase. Workers can make up to $84,000 per year
- The reinstatement of COLA for seniority team members
- Ratification bonus for all employees
- $0 healthcare premiums and deductibles for seniority team members
- Five weeks of vacation, Juneteenth, and two weeks of paid parental leave
For temporary workers, the offer includes:
- Faster path to top pay
- Full-time temporary workers with one year of employment will be automatically converted to seniority at ratification.
- Wage increases by 26%
- Profit sharing for temporary workers who have worked at least 1,000 hours
- Company contributions increased 8% of annual wages
- Company contributions for healthcare during retirement up to $1.25 per hour worked
- An increase in the Basic Benefit Rate by 5%
UAW members start to grow weary
Fain has largely gotten the vocal support of UAW members as he called on select members to walk off the job. However, the tide may be starting to turn against the union's president.
FOX 2 spoke with Darvin Fletcher who works for Ford this week, who said he was growing tired of the picket line at Michigan Assembly in Wayne - the first facility to be hit by the UAW in September.
"Mr. Fain get us back to work! Enough’s enough," Fletcher said. "Morale is down. The first week everybody was gung ho."
He said workers were going financially bankrupt. "We weren’t even getting a full 40 hours a week since, like, May, and now to be handed $500 a week before taxes?! It’s killing us."
There are also continuing tensions between workers and non-union employees who are being impacted by the strike despite not negotiating for a new contract. One video posted on Facebook shows a truck driver threatening to run over protesters in front of Local 1248 in Warren.