The CEOs of Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. blasted United Auto Workers boss Shawn Fain for expanding strikes on Friday - now in its third week. Fain said meaningful progress on a new four-year labor contract with Chrysler-parent Stellantis would allow the automaker to avoid additional strikes.
GM CEO Mary Barra was furious with Fain: "It's clear that there is no real intent to get to an agreement." Ford CEO Jim Farley said, "UAW is holding the deal hostage over battery plants."
Farley warned UAW pay hike demands "have a devastating impact on our business," adding that the disagreement on wages centers around future electric vehicle battery plants.
"What's really frustrating is, I believe we could have reached a compromise on pay and benefits, but so far, the UAW is holding the deal hostage over battery plants," Farley said. He added, "Keep in mind these battery plants don't exist yet."
Fain quickly responded to Farley's comments about the union: "I don't know why Jim Farley is lying about the state of negotiations. It could be because he failed to show up for bargaining this week, as he has for most of the past ten weeks. If he were there, he'd know we gave Ford a comprehensive proposal on Monday and still haven't heard back."
Barra repeated much of Farley's criticisms of Fain: "It's clear that there is no real intent to get to an agreement. It is clear Shawn Fain wants to make history for himself, but it can't be to the detriment of our represented team members and the industry."
Comments from Farley and Barra came hours after Fain announced expanding strikes at their respective auto plants while he said Stellantis made meaningful progress on a new four-year labor contract and would avoid further strikes.
UAW currently has 25,000, or about 17% of the union, on strike at the three automakers.
A Bloomberg report earlier this week said Fain had reduced pay hike demands from 40% to 30% with automakers. Still, negotiators at the three carmakers are around 20%, which means both parties are far apart from an imminent deal.
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