Unionized auto workers are hoping to score major concessions from car companies during this round of contract negotiations, reflecting in part the sharp rise in inflation and what they say are big pay raises for car executives.
The United Auto Workers union has been outspoken in its demands. The union is looking for a massive 40% pay increase as well as better hours and benefits for their workers.
The demand for a pay increase posing problems for Detroit’s Big Three — GM, Ford and Stellantis. But UAW President Shawn Fain says that it’s necessary to maintain a decent living standard for union workers.
“We have to work longer and harder just to maintain the same standard of living we had before,” Mr. Fain said in a statement to members.
Referring to inflation, the union pointed to record profits for car companies and massive pay raises given to executives as justification for the new contract demands.
“Yes we’re demanding double-digit pay raises,” a statement from the union reads. “Big Three CEOs say their pay spiked 40% on average over the last four years. We know our members are worth the same and more.”
The union is also in a good position to demand more as several other major unions secured massive pay increases with their new contracts. Recently, the Teamsters reached a contract with UPS that secured historic pay raises for nearly every employee. Airline pilot unions have also secured big pay raises for their members this year.
GM, which recently reported second-quarter net income of $2.6 billion on revenues of $44 billion, argues that the union’s demands are too high.
“The breadth and scope of the [union request], at face value, would threaten our ability to do what’s right for the long-term benefit of the team,” the company said in a statement. “A fair agreement rewards our employees and also enables GM to maintain our momentum now and into the future.”
The UAW master contract with all three companies expires on Sept. 14 and Mr. Fain has said the union is prepared to strike if an agreement is not reached before the deadline.