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Ford CEO fires again at UAW chief as Thursday strike deadline looms

Ford CEO Jim Farley speaks with media after revealing the 2024 Ford F-150 for the Detroit auto present on Sept. 12, 2023.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

DETROIT – Ford Motor CEO Jim Farley rebuffed feedback by United Auto Employees President Shawn Fain that the corporate shouldn’t be taking bargaining seriously forward of a Thursday night time strike deadline, inserting blame on the union chief for not displaying as much as the bargaining desk – each figuratively and actually.

Farley stated the corporate has obtained “no real counteroffer” on its 4 financial proposals, together with the newest provide that Ford is looking probably the most beneficiant provide ever between the UAW and firm. He additionally stated Fain, who’s concurrently negotiating with General Motors and Stellantis, was absent throughout a Tuesday assembly that he and Ford Chair Invoice Ford anticipated Fain to attend.

“We’re right here, we’re prepared to barter, but it surely’s positive laborious to barter a contract when there is no one to barter with,” Farley informed reporters Wednesday night time on the sidelines of the Detroit Auto Show. “We’ve time left, but it surely’s laborious to barter when you do not get any suggestions again.”

Farley’s feedback got here roughly 24 hours after he informed reporters Tuesday that he was optimistic the corporate might attain a take care of the union.

Public criticism between the union and an automaker aren’t unprecedented however the quantity of element being launched, announced strike plans and simultaneous bargaining actually are.

Farley stated he did not know Fain had obtained the provide till he was discussing it throughout a 5 p.m. Facebook Live with union members. He additionally questioned whether or not Fain is just too busy already “planning strikes or PR occasions that we won’t get the suggestions to make one of the best provide.”

UAW President Shawn Fain chairs the 2023 Particular Elections Collective Bargaining Conference in Detroit, March 27, 2023.

Rebecca Prepare dinner | Reuters

A UAW spokesman didn’t instantly reply for remark relating to Farley’s feedback or a letter launched on his behalf by the corporate countering a lot of Fain’s criticisms.

The union has argued the businesses know their calls for. They embody: bold targets of 40% hourly pay will increase, a decreased 32-hour workweek, a shift again to conventional pensions, the elimination of compensation tiers and a restoration of cost-of-living changes, amongst different gadgets.

Farley declined to straight reply a query about whether or not he believes the union is bargaining in good religion, which might justify a criticism with the Nationwide Labor Relations Board.

The UAW late final month filed unfair labor practice charges in opposition to GM and Stellantis to the NLRB for not bargaining with the union in good religion or a well timed method. It didn’t file a criticism in opposition to Ford.

Ford CEO: We have yet to receive a legitimate counteroffer from UAW

As launched Thursday by the union, Ford’s most up-to-date proposal included a number of the union’s calls for, however not all of them. It included 20% wage will increase; a “poor” restoration of cost-of-living adjustment, reworked profit-sharing components; 90-day development for “temp,” or supplemental, employees to turn into common workers; and different advantages akin to elevated trip days and two-week paid parental depart.

Fain stated Ford and its crosstown rivals rejected the union’s retiree and health-care proposals.

If the UAW and corporations can not attain a deal by an 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday deadline, Fain stated the union will implement focused strikes at sure crops in opposition to the Detroit automakers.

Throughout his Fb occasion, Fain stated he believed strikes against the companies are “likely.”

“To win, we’re doubtless going to need to take motion. Simply as we now have approached our negotiations in a different way than we now have up to now, we’re making ready to strike these firms in a method they’ve by no means seen earlier than,” Fain stated.

Right here is the complete textual content of Farley’s letter following Fain’s remarks:

The Ford staff continues to place 100% of our power into reaching an settlement with the UAW that rewards our valued workers and permits the corporate to speculate sooner or later. If there’s a strike, it is not as a result of Ford did not make an excellent provide. We’ve and that is what we will management.

Actually, we now have put 4 gives on the desk beginning Aug. 29 and each has been more and more beneficiant. We nonetheless haven’t obtained any real counteroffer.

On Tuesday, Invoice Ford and I sat down with the union on the essential desk for a serious provide. As we had been strolling within the room, we discovered President Fain wouldn’t be attending. Nonetheless, Invoice and I laid out a traditionally beneficiant provide to the UAW Ford bargaining staff as a result of we listened to the UAW calls for and we care about our workers. Listed here are the information. Ford:

• Considerably elevated our proposal on wage will increase;
• Supplied Price of Residing Changes, or COLA;
• Totally eradicated wage tiers so all workers can obtain industry-leading wages – and shortened to 4 from eight years the time it takes hourly workers to succeed in the highest wage;
• Elevated contributions to in-progression retirement financial savings;
• Protected well being care advantages that may proceed to rank within the high 1% of all employer sponsored medical plans for lowest worker price sharing; and
• Added extra paid day off, with as much as 5 weeks of trip and 17 paid holidays annually (with the addition of Juneteenth).

The primary we discovered President Fain obtained the provide was on Fb Reside this night. So once more, we’re right here and able to attain a deal. We needs to be working creatively to resolve laborious issues moderately than planning strikes and PR occasions.

Please do not forget that Ford, greater than every other firm, has guess on the UAW and handled the UAW with respect. We’ve been extremely supportive of the union. We’ve gone effectively past any contract language in including jobs and funding.

The way forward for our {industry} is at stake. Let’s do the whole lot we will to avert a disastrous final result.

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