The unprecedented strike movement affecting American automobile manufacturers risks getting bogged down. “If we do not get better offers (…), we will proceed to an amplification” of the strike, declared Sunday the boss of the UAW union, Shawn Fain, on the CBS channel. “We’ve been left behind for decades.” This is the first time in history that the three American automobile giants have been affected simultaneously.
Three sites have been shut down since Friday: a General Motors plant in Wentzville (Missouri), another of Stellantis (Fiat-Chrysler-PSA) in Toledo (Ohio) as well as a Ford branch in Wayne (Michigan). However, discussions between the union and the Big Three (General Motors, Ford, Stellantis) resumed on Saturday with the aim of putting an end to the strike movement that began the day before. GM and Ford have proposed raising wages by a combined 20 percent.
Stellantis is now offering an increase of “nearly 21%” over the duration of the new collective agreement, or four years, compared to 14.5% just a week ago. But for Shawn Fain, a 21% offer is largely insufficient while the UAW is demanding a 40% increase.
Also read The threat of a historic strike looms over the American automobile industry
Stellantis also affirmed on Saturday that the transition to electricity, with site closures as a result, would take place without job cuts, a major fear of employees in the sector, fueled by some Republicans. The latter blame this social conflict on the back of American President Joe Biden, due to his supposed responsibility for the surge in inflation and his desire to accelerate the energy transition for the automobile.
For his part, Joe Biden said he understood “the frustration of workers,” who “deserve a fair share of the benefits they helped create.” In the first half of 2023, the three manufacturers generated cumulative revenue of $276 billion and net profit of $20.25 billion.