With a deadline of September 14th at 11:59pm looming, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s contract talks with Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis seems destined to go down to the proverbial wire. Things have picked up in recent days, however, with Ford’s cross-town rivals submitting proposals to the UAW, while The Blue Oval also countered with its own, sweetened contact offer just days ago. The UAW also budged a bit this week, lowering its pay raise demands from 46 percent down to around 36, though that remains far off FoMoCo’s latest offer of 16 percent. Regardless, even considering this progress and pleas from President Joe Biden and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for both sides to work together, it seems as if Ford may still be hit with targeted union strikes, according to the Associated Press.
These smaller scale strikes would reportedly only affect a small number of plants operated by all three automakers, a strategy that just arose during talks among union leaders this past Friday. Local UAW leaders were informed of the plan yesterday afternoon, according to unnamed sources, while union members will reportedly learn of these details via a livestream hosted by UAW President Shawn Fain later today.
It’s unclear if the UAW is targeting component factories – which could impact multiple other facilities – or assembly plants, nor how many workers might be asked to strike, but this action would obviously prove costly for both sides. The UAW would be required to pay its 146,000 members $500 per week if it strikes against all three companies simultaneously, meaning that its $825 million dollar strike fund would be depleted in around three months – not factoring in health care payments.
In addition to a pay increase, the UAW is also seeking stronger job security amid the shift to EVs, the end of tiered pay systems, and the return of a cost of living adjustment, as well as a four-day, 32-hour full time work week. As Ford Authority reported last week, submitting to these demands – or even failing to reach a deal and facing a strike after Thursday’s deadline – could prove incredibly costly for Ford and its rivals, regardless of how things pan out.