UAW President Shawn Fain Files Unfair Labor Practice Charges
In a recent development, United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain has taken a significant step in response to contract negotiations with major automakers. Frustrated by what he perceives as a lack of good faith bargaining, Fain announced that the UAW has filed unfair labor practice charges against General Motors (GM) and Stellantis. This legal action was prompted by the automakers’ alleged failure to respond promptly and positively to the union’s demands.
GM and Stellantis Accused of Willful Refusal to Bargain in Good Faith
Fain did not mince words when he accused GM and Stellantis of a “willful refusal to bargain in good faith.” He went on to describe this behavior as not only insulting and counterproductive but also illegal. These allegations were made during a Facebook Live session, where Fain emphasized the gravity of the situation.
“GM and Stellantis’ willful refusal to bargain in good faith is not only insulting and counterproductive, it’s also illegal,” said Fain.
“That’s why today, our union filed unfair labor practice charges, or ULPs, against both GM and Stellantis with the National Labor Relations Board.”
Stellantis Responds, Denies Allegations
In response to these allegations, Stellantis expressed shock and disbelief, asserting that there is no basis for Fain’s claims. The company issued a statement expressing its disappointment that Fain seemed more focused on pursuing legal charges than engaging in genuine negotiations. Stellantis emphasized its commitment to continuing negotiations in good faith to secure a new agreement and ensure the future well-being of its employees.
“This is a claim with no basis in fact, and we are disappointed to learn that Mr. Fain is more focused on filing frivolous legal charges than on actual bargaining,” the company statement reads.
“We will vigorously defend this charge when the time comes, but right now we are more focused on continuing to bargain in good faith for a new agreement. We will not allow Mr. Fain’s tactics to distract us from that important work to secure the future for our employees.”
GM’s Response Echoes Stellantis’ Stance
GM echoed Stellantis’ sentiments regarding the NLRB charges, stating that it was surprised by and strongly refuted the charges filed by the UAW. The automaker emphasized its dedication to negotiating directly and in good faith with the union, highlighting the progress made in these negotiations. Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing, reiterated the company’s commitment to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.
“We are surprised by and strongly refute the NLRB charge filed by the International UAW. We believe it has no merit and is an insult to the bargaining committees. We have been hyper-focused on negotiating directly and in good faith with the UAW and are making progress,”
Ford Faces Criticism Over Contract Proposal
While Fain did not file a complaint against Ford Motor, he heavily criticized the company’s response to the UAW’s demands. According to Fain, Ford’s recent proposal was “concessionary” and failed to meet the union’s needs. He cited specific issues, such as a 9% wage increase over the four-year term, one-time bonuses, and the use of temporary workers without the same benefits.
Ford’s CEO Responds and Presents Counterarguments
In response to Fain’s criticism, Ford released a comprehensive statement by CEO Jim Farley. Farley provided additional details of Ford’s proposal, emphasizing a 15% guaranteed combined wage increase, substantial bonuses, and other improvements over the last contract. He highlighted the importance of the proposed deal for Ford’s workers and the company’s ability to respond to industry transformations.
“This would be an important deal for our workers, and it would allow for the continuation of Ford’s unique position as the most American automaker — and give us the flexibility we need within our manufacturing footprint to respond to customer demand as the industry transforms,” said Farley.
“This offer would also allow Ford to compete, invest in new products, grow and share that future success with our employees through profit sharing.”
Contrasting Demands and Negotiations
The negotiations between the UAW and the automakers have exposed significant gaps in their positions. While the union has demanded a 46% wage increase, restoration of traditional pensions, and other substantial benefits, the companies have put forward their proposals, which include competitive wage increases and bonuses but differ from the union’s demands.