Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers have tentatively reached an agreement to end UAW’s work strike. This agreement could also be used as a model for GM or Stellantis in settling with their employees.
The strike will end if the UAW executive and the members of the UAW rank and file accept the agreement. If that happens, union president Shawn Fain will look like the idiot that he is.
Fain issued blood-curdling warnings to the automakers that if they didn’t give in to their demands, a historic strike would occur. Fain demanded that a 32-hour week with 40 hours of pay be implemented, as well as a 46% wage hike and the restoration of raises from 2008’s downturn.
They’re getting a 25% increase in wages, the right to strike against plant closures and improvements to health and pension benefits. This is not a 40 percent wage hike, and there are no cuts to the workweek or plans to restore pay cuts during the Great Recession in 2008.
Ford workers and those at other U.S. carmakers could have made $100 per hour if they had received everything that was requested. This would make U.S. carmakers very uncompetitive against foreign automakers, and the American electric vehicle company Tesla.
Companies are investing billions to transition to battery-powered vehicles. They say this makes it difficult to pay higher wages. Ford’s William C. Ford Jr. said last week that the union’s demands could hurt Detroit automakers’ ability to compete with non-union companies such as Tesla and foreign competitors.
He said, “Toyotas, Hondas, Teslas, and others are enjoying the strike because they know that the longer it lasts, the better for them.” “They will win and we will all lose.”
The UAW has a different argument: its success in the contract battle against the Big Three companies will give it momentum for organizing autoworkers within other companies.
Tesla is the UAW’s next target and it won’t be easy. Elon Musk has been trying to play the union off, even if it means keeping Tesla tee shirts in the uniform.
The NLRB said last year that the policy requiring employees at factories in California or Nevada to wear black shirts bearing Tesla logos is illegal because there are no “special circumstances”.
Tesla adopted this policy in 2017, following a UAW campaign to organize production workers. The union accused Tesla of using illegal tactics to suppress organizing. Tesla denied these accusations.
The 5th Circuit judges said that Tesla did not need to prove any special circumstances for its uniform policy. For example, it was not required to show safety or public image concerns. It only prohibited the use of union symbols on t-shirts.
Tesla has little chance of remaining non-union as long as the National Labor Relations Board is under Democratic control.
Ford’s settlement is not binding on the other two automakers. The companies lose $5 billion per ten-day period, so GM Stellantis will likely accept the settlement.