UAW President Calls GM Contract Counteroffer ‘Insulting’: What’s in it?

General Motors presented negotiators on Thursday with its first contract proposal for its 50,000 hourly workers represented by the United Auto Workers, which includes a 10% increase in hourly wages.

But UAW President Shawn Fain pointed out that the offer still falls short of the union’s demands.

The proposal would partially eliminate union wages, unlike a proposal from Ford Motor Co. to the UAW last week that did not address eliminating union wages, as the union had requested. Tiers are different wage rates for employees. GM would also provide a 10% increase in hourly wages.

But the union, which is negotiating with all three Detroit automakers in separate talks, has called for a 40% increase in hourly wages over the life of the contract, as well as the return of a cost of living adjustment (COLA) and pension plan. Fain said this last week Ford offered a general wage of 9% Increase over the term of the contract and a one-time flat-rate bonus instead of COLA.

It was initially unclear whether GM was offering to reinstate COLA, a pension program, or addressing the union’s demand for a shorter workweek, as GM did not offer that information in a highlight list provided to employees.

“We are not disclosing any additional specific details beyond the infographic and employee letter,” GM spokesman David Barnas told the Detroit Free Press.

But in a UAW bulletin to members late Thursday, the union said GM has rejected the reinstatement of COLA, increases in retiree pay, all pension proposals and the union’s job security proposals, which include the right to strike at plant closings. GM also rejected most proposals to improve quality of life, such as a shorter work week. The union said GM would not agree to the UAW’s proposal to eliminate collective wages after a 90-day transition to the top wage.

In a statement Thursday, Fain called the proposal “insulting” and said GM either “doesn’t care or isn’t listening when we say we need economic justice at GM by 11:59 p.m. on September 14.” The clock is ticking. Stop We’re wasting our members’ time. Tick ​​Tock.”

The current contract expires on September 14th and Fain was determined that he wanted a contract Until then, all three car manufacturers will be laid off and a contract extension will not be accepted, which could mean a strike.

More paid time off

GM presented the counteroffer to UAW leaders around 10 a.m. Thursday. It comes just a few days later The UAW filed unfair labor practice charges against GM and Stellantis. The The National Labor Relations Board is investigating These charges are now filed and the outcome could impact a possible strike.

“After refusing to negotiate in good faith for the last six weeks, and only after federal labor charges were filed against them, GM came to the table with an insulting proposal that does not come close to a fair deal for America’s Autoworkers,” Fain said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network.

In a letter to employees this morning shared with the Free Press, GM wrote: “Our offer includes well-deserved wage improvements that go well beyond the 2019 agreement and reward you for your hard work. We still have a lot of work to do, but we wanted to make this offer to show our good efforts to keep the process going.”

GM said it will recognize June 19 as a paid holiday for all hourly employees, bringing the new total to 16 to 18 paid holidays per year. Ford declined to recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday, Fain said. GM hourly employees would also receive a $5,500 bonus for ratifying the contract, matching Ford’s offer.

The big highlights

Here are the GM highlights for UAW-represented workers now receiving the maximum wage rate:

  • 10% wage increase. GM said it was the largest wage increase since the 1999 contract and 67% higher than in 2019 and 2015.

  • Two additional lump sum payments of 3%, for a total increase of 16%.

  • One-time inflation detection payment of $6,000.

  • Inflation protection bonuses of $5,000 over the term of the agreement (employees in the implementation phase are eligible).

Ford offered a 9% hourly wage increase, with most of it taking effect in the first year, with 6% flat bonuses for a total increase of 15%, compared to GM’s 16%. Ford said that means wages (including overtime) and flat bonuses for hourly workers will rise from an average of $78,000 per year in 2022 to $92,000 in the first year of the contract.

“Ford’s proposal not only meets our needs, it insults our value,” Fain said in a Facebook Live presentation to members last week.

Here are the highlights for GM’s temporary and ongoing hourly employees:

  • Current entry-level employees will receive a 56% wage increase compared to the contract.

  • Current temporary workers will receive a 20 percent raise to $20 per hour.

  • Eliminate two levels of advancement, reducing the time to reach the maximum wage rate by 25% and allowing double-digit wage increases for all transitioning employees from the start of the contract.

Willing to work harder towards an agreement

The GM proposals do not include a COLA provision, but instead call for two lump sum payments totaling $11,000, said labor expert and Wayne State University economics professor Marick Masters. These payments do not affect the base wage rate, but COLA will increase the base wage rate if negotiated in the contract.

“GM’s proposals are essentially the same as Ford’s, with some modest increases. “It is notable not only what GM mentions, but also what it fails to include on the UAW members’ list of demands,” Masters said. “Fain’s categorical rejection of the proposals as ‘offensive’ leaves GM and Ford in the same substantive position in relation to the union.”

Masters said the parties are not currently close to an agreement, adding that “a major breakthrough may be possible but appears unlikely.”

Automakers probably need to give the UAW even more for the union to feel like it’s getting back some of its earlier concessions, said Harley Shaiken, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

“A troubling paradox has fueled anger among many UAW workers: record corporate profits over the past decade, accompanied by rapid increases in executive pay on the one hand, and painful temporary concessions for workers that are becoming the new norm, on the other.” said Shaiken. “These angry feelings on the line and in the factories are fueling the rhetoric of UAW leaders.”

In a video posted Thursday www.gmnegotiations2023.comGM Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing Gerald Johnson said these are just the highlights of the proposal and there are many more details.

“Our offer includes guaranteed raises and a higher starting wage, as well as an accelerated path to top pay for developing team members,” Johnson said. “We are also proud to offer more paid time off, including Juneteenth, and are making no changes to our healthcare premiums.”

GM President Mark Reuss said in the video that GM has an “incredible future” with several new product launches, but competition is fierce, which is why GM needs to reach a fair contract that “both rewards our employees and protects the company.” “.

“These negotiations are serious and important,” Johnson added. “The result affects us all. Today is an important step towards an agreement. This is a negotiation process and we are prepared to work long and hard to reach an agreement.”

Contact Jamie L. LaReau: Follow her on Twitter @jlareauan. Read more at General Motors and sign up for our Cars newsletter. Become a subscriber.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: GM’s contract offer to the UAW is “insulting,” says Fain: What’s in it? UAW President Calls GM Contract Counteroffer ‘Insulting’: What’s in it?

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