Jeep maker Stellantis makes a new contract offer as auto workers prepare to expand their strike
General Motors and Stellantis announced fresh layoffs Wednesday that they blamed on damage from the United Auto Workers strike, and the labour standoff grew more tense just two days before the union was expected to call for new walkouts.
Stellantis provided a glimmer of hope for a breakthrough by giving the union a new contract proposal. However, a company spokeswoman said the offer primarily covered non-economic issues.
It was not clear whether the Stellantis offer would satisfy union President Shawn Fain, who vows to announce new strike targets on Friday unless there is "serious progress" toward agreements with GM, Stellantis and Ford.
So far UAW workers are striking at just three factories, one for each company. It's a novel approach for the union, which in the past has focused negotiations on one company and limited a 2019 strike to GM. Fain says his approach will keep the companies guessing about UAW's next move.
"He is trying to distinguish himself from the old leadership of the UAW," said Harry Katz, a professor of collective bargaining at Cornell University. "He's different, he's tough, and he's trying to put pressure on the companies."
The three-plant strike has so far had limited impact on the automakers -- probably by design, longtime industry observers say.
"The strategy is to incrementally apply pressure on the companies to encourage them to come to the table," said Marick Masters, a management professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. "He is negotiating with the three companies simultaneously with the expectation that the one that is most vulnerable and will give them the best deal will surface from that strategy."
However, if there is little sign of progress in the talks by Friday, Fain could take a more aggressive tack, "and they are going to strike where it hurts," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. "For Ford, on the pickups -- disrupting (production of) F-150s, and strategically striking GM and Stellantis in a way that could substantially impair 30% to 40% of the industry's production."
Strikes that target production of popular models like the F-150 or the Ram would inflict a lot of pain on the carmakers, but the UAW could pack the same punch if it walks out of key engine and transmission plants.
Another clue of possible strike targets might be found in locations where UAW locals have announced they will hold rallies and practice picketing in the coming days. Those include a Ford plant in Louisville, Kentucky, a GM plant in Bedford, Illinois, and a GM truck plant in Arlington, Texas.
"If Friday comes and there is no major progress" at the bargaining table, "this will get a lot nastier," Ives said.
The layoffs that GM and Stellantis announced Wednesday will be in Kansas, Ohio and Indiana.
GM said that the UAW strike at its assembly plant near St. Louis caused it to idle a plant in Kansas with about 2,000 workers because "there is no work available" -- the plant depends on parts stamped in the St. Louis-area facility.
GM said it does not expect to restart the Kansas plant until the strike ends, and it won't provide supplemental pay to the workers. The company said the layoffs demonstrated "that nobody wins in a strike."
Stellantis, which makes Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge vehicles, said it expects to lay off more than 300 workers in Ohio and Indiana because "storage constraints" caused by the UAW strike at its assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio.
Asked for comment, a UAW spokesman referred to a statement last weekend in which UAW President Shawn Fain said layoffs were unnecessary and an effort to pressure workers to settle for less in contract negotiations.
Also Wednesday, about 190 UAW members walked off the job at ZF, a Mercedes supplier in Alabama, over wages, a lower scale for new workers, and health care benefits. The workers are covered under a different contract than those that UAW is negotiating with the three big automakers. A ZF spokesman said the plant was continuing to run, and the company hopes to reach an agreement with the workers soon.
The layoffs and the Alabama walkout ratcheted up tension two days before Friday's UAW deadline for the carmakers to show progress in meeting the UAW's demands. The union and the car makers continue to talk, but an industry official said Wednesday that the two sides remain far apart.
The UAW is seeking pay raises of more than 30 per cent over four years, a restoration of defined-benefit pensions for all workers, and a 32-hour work week for 40 hours of pay. The companies are offering around 20 per cent on pay and are staunchly resisting some of the union's other demands.
There was progress between one automaker and a labour union, but it happened in Canada.
Ford and Unifor, which represents Canadian auto workers, announced that they reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract just hours before a strike deadline. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. If ratified, it would cover more than 5,000 workers and provide a model for similar deals at GM and Stellantis operations in Canada.
The Shopping Trends team is independent of the journalists at CTV News. We may earn a commission when you use our links to shop. Read about us.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Rick Hansen's life changed the day he was told he'd never walk again, but instead of letting his disability stand in his way, he became an advocate for accessibility rights and a Paralympic Athlete. Here's how that happened.
Sandie Rinaldo: Rick Hansen marks the 50th anniversary of his life-changing accident by visiting the scene
Rick Hansen lost the use of his legs in a truck accident when he was just 15 years old, CTV National News anchor, Sandie Rinaldo interviewed him recently while visiting the place where his life changed irrevocably.
A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 struck Saturday off the cost of the southern Philippines island of Mindanao and Philippine authorities issued a tsunami warning.
Michael Keough has to pause in the middle of his phone call from Newfoundland and Labrador's largest jail to cough and wipe his eyes -- there's black mould on the wall where the phones are, he explains, and it irritates him after a while.
Israel pounded targets in the crowded southern half of the Gaza Strip on Saturday and ordered more neighborhoods designated for attack to evacuate, driving up the death toll even as the United States and others urged it to do more to protect Gaza civilians a day after a truce collapsed.
A protester was in critical condition Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also injured.
A mother and her 14-year-old daughter are advocating for better protections for victims after AI-generated nude images of the teen and other female classmates were circulated at a high school in New Jersey.
Imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been handed new charges by Russian prosecutors.
Residents of a Gatineau, Que. neighbourhood have been dealing with a string of strangers knocking at the doors of their homes looking to pick up their purchased products from Facebook Marketplace, but instead discovering they had been scammed.
Conservatives faced a barrage of partisan fire Friday in the House of Commons as their political rivals accused the official Opposition of trying to stall measures aimed at helping Ukraine.
The Liberal government had to delay its long-promised regulations to cap emissions from oil and gas production in Canada because of two recent court decisions forcing Ottawa to tread more carefully on climate policy affecting provinces, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Friday.
Canada's spy agency says it has launched a workplace assessment of its British Columbia office over 'serious allegations' raised by whistleblowers who say they were sexually assaulted and harassed by a senior officer.
As global leaders prepare to meet for the first dedicated health day at a UN climate summit, Canadian doctors plan to use the platform to push for a new federal office dedicated to addressing the health effects of climate change.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says flu season is officially underway in this country. As of Nov. 25, 7.5 per cent of people tested for influenza across Canada were positive.
Pfizer shares sank Friday when the drugmaker said it would abandon a twice-daily obesity treatment after more than half the patients in a clinical trial stopped taking it.
An audacious collaboration between geneticists and conservationists plans to bring back the extinct dodo and reintroduce it to its once-native habitat in Mauritius.
Montana's first-in-the-nation law banning the video-sharing app TikTok in the state was blocked Thursday, one month before it was set to take effect, by a federal judge who called the measure unconstitutional.
Chinstrap penguins nod off more than 10,000 times per day in seconds-long 'microsleeps,' study finds
A new study has documented the peculiar sleeping habits of this species of penguin. Instead of taking one long continuous period of sleep, chinstrap penguins prefer to sleep in seconds-long intervals, more than 10,000 times a day.
The weapons supervisor on the film set where Alec Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer in 2021 waived her arraignment in a separate case, pleading not guilty to a charge of carrying a gun into a Santa Fe bar.
An appeals court upheld the disorderly conduct convictions Friday of actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself in 2019 and lying about it to Chicago police.
Movie reviews: 'Maestro' is a stylish, passionate movie with enough depth to both warm and break your heart
This week, pop culture critic Richard Crouse reviews new movies 'Maestro,' 'May December,' 'Saltburn' and 'Silent Night.'