With the 2023 strike in the rearview mirror, The Blue Oval can focus on getting production back to normal while the union can pivot to organizing non-union plants. But as with any event as significant as a strike, there was always going to be some type of postmortem at some point. A recent article from the Detroit Free Press does in fact go over UAW President Shawn Fain’s perspective on certain aspects of the strike, and he did not have anything good to say about how he thinks Ford CEO Jim Farley handled negotiations. However, he doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge over what transpired either.
The article details how Fain thought talks between the Detroit Three would go and which company he expected to be more difficult to deal with. It seems the UAW leader thought Ford or GM would be easier to talk to when compared to Stellantis, but in his opinion, the exact opposite happened.
“I really thought going into this that Stellantis was going to be the worst to deal with…they really ended up being the best. They were serious; they wanted to get things done. There’s not one time in this process that they misled us or they lied to us,” Fain said. “I can’t say that for Jim Farley. Jim Farley led us to believe one thing for five weeks and then did a complete 180 and denied he even said certain things or committed to certain things.”
According to Fain, towards the end of negotiations, he ended up having a dialogue with Bill Ford, the executive chair of the company, instead of Farley. As Ford Authority previously reported, the falling out between Fain and Farley apparently didn’t completely torpedo relations between the two entities, as the company was the first of the Detroit Three to reach a tentative agreement with the union. But it did come after a month and a half of heated rhetoric between both parties, including accusations of lying over EV battery plants. During the strike, Fain also criticized Bill Ford, ultimately panning his press conference.
Fain said he doesn’t hold any grudges against Ford CEO Farley or GM CEO Mary Barra. And despite what was said early on in the strike, it seems Ford won’t be bankrupted by the new contract, although it expects to spend about $9 billion extra on wages through the end of the agreement. It plans on making its plants more efficient to counteract the $900 per vehicle cost of the new agreement.