The Ford Motor Company on Sunday said that despite progress, “significant gaps” remain before the automaker can close a deal with striking United Auto Workers members.
The UAW’s strike began at midnight September 15 when contract agreements to cover the union’s 145,000 members could not be reached, leading to the first-ever nationwide UAW strike being called simultaneously at all of the Big Three automakers in Detroit.
The first wave of the walkout included some 13,000 UAW members at three plants: General Motors in Wentzville, Missouri; Ford in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellanits in Toledo, Ohio. But this past Friday UAW president Shawn Fain announced he was extending to walkout to include union members at 38 parts distribution facilities across 20 states at GM and Stellantis plants—though not at Ford facilities.
During a livestream event Friday, Fain said Ford had come to the table over sticking points like profit-sharing and pay-tier structures and temporary employees, and thus was exempt from the extended walkouts. However, the UAW president added that there was still ground to cover with Ford.
In a statement late Sunday evening following talks over the weekend, Ford said the issues “are interconnected and must work within an overall agreement that supports our mutual success.”
It was not immediately clear if main table bargaining took place with the UAW between GM or Stellantis over the weekend.
The main sticking points have been over hourly pay, retirement benefits, cost-of-living adjustments, wage progression and work-life balance.
The Big Three automakers have proposed roughly 20% raises over the four-and-a-half year term of their proposed deals, though that is only half of what the UAW is demanding. The UAW at one point during the talks offered to lower its demand to 36%.
President Biden, who touts himself to be the most union-friendly President in U.S. history, has urged the automakers to ensure that workers are given their “fair share” of the “record corporate profits” the Big Three have enjoyed in recent years.
Biden is set to travel to Michigan Tuesday to support the workers on the UAW picket line—one day before former President Trump is scheduled to speak about the strike in the same state.