United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain was set to make announcement Friday afternoon on whether talks with the Big Three automakers has progressed enough to forestall more walkouts and the union’s three-week-long strike.
Fain’s announcement was scheduled for 2pm ET.
According to the UAW, his Facebook Live presentation would cover substantive bargaining updates.
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 Fain has twice since expanded the strike to more facilities across the Big Three companies.
The Big Three initially 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%.
On Thursday, Ford said it had made a “comprehensive” new offer that included a “more than 20% general wage increase, not compounded” with a double-digit increase in the first year, but the automaker did not elaborate.
That proposal, when combined with cost-of-living adjustments previously offered by Ford, could reportedly bring the total wage increase offer close to 30% over the life of the contract.
However, neither the UAW nor Ford has announced agreements on other, significant issues. The UAW has been asking for shorter work weeks, restored pensions and stronger job security as automakers make the shift to electric vehicles.
On Wednesday, GM said the strike had already cost it $200 million in lost revenue for the third quarter. The automaker has filed for additional credit of up to $6 billion in anticipation of ongoing and potentially expanding labor issues.
Meanwhile, both GM and Ford have laid off thousands of workers in facilities linked to other plants that have been idled from the strike.
On September 26, President Biden became the first sitting U.S. President to join a labor picket line, repeating a call he’d made previously that the workers should share in the record profits the Big Three automakers have been enjoying in recent years.
A day later, former President Trump held a rally at a non-union auto supplier factory in Clinton Township, Michigan.
The UAW’s Fain thanked Biden for joining the picket line and blasted Trump for visiting a non-union shop, though he has not yet endorsed a candidate in the 2024 Presidential election.