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Business News/ Auto News / Ford CEO says company ‘can go bankrupt if…’ responding to workers strike for better pay
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Ford CEO says company ‘can go bankrupt if…’ responding to workers strike for better pay

Auto workers at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis Jeep threaten to strike over better benefits.

Striking United Auto Workers picket at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., shortly after midnight Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. (AP)Premium
Striking United Auto Workers picket at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., shortly after midnight Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. (AP)

The workers at the few assembly plants of General Motors, Ford and Stellantis Jeep have threatened to go on strike demanding better benefits. The units were the workers have been agitating includes General Motors assembly plant in Missouri, a Ford factory in Wayne, Michigan and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio.

Contracts between 146,000 auto workers and the companies are set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. Despite increased offers from Ford and GM, workers refuse to make any deal with the companies unless all their demands are met.  United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said union bargainers have been working hard but have been firm in trying to reach fair deals. 

The union has a list of demands including 36% pay raises over four years, cost of living raises, and an end to different tiers of wages for workers.

Responding to the workers' demand, Ford in a statement on Thursday said the union responded to the company's latest “historically generous" offer by showing little movement from its initial demands.

“If implemented, the proposal would more than double Ford’s current UAW-related labor costs, which are already significantly higher than the labor costs of Tesla, Toyota and other foreign-owned automakers in the United States that utilize non-union-represented labor," the statement said.

Ford and GM are offering 20% during the next contract while the last known offer from Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, was 17.5%.

On CNBC Thursday, Ford CEO Jim Farley said if Ford had agreed to the union’s demands, it would have lost $15 billion during the last decade and gone bankrupt.

Meanwhile, Fain said, the companies have made billions in profits during the past decade and can afford to pay workers more to make up for concessions made starting in 2007 to help the automakers in tough times. He says labor costs are only 4% to 5% of a vehicle's cost.

“They could double our raises and not raise car prices and still make millions of dollars in profits," Fain said. “We’re not the problem. Corporate greed is the problem."

It is the the first time in the union’s 88-year history, the UAW will strike at all three companies at the same time, he said and added more walkouts could be scheduled if companies don't move on bargaining. 

(With agency inputs)

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Published: 15 Sep 2023, 10:33 AM IST
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