United Auto Workers reject GM counteroffer — and say ‘the clock is ticking’ for potential strike

UAW President Shawn Fain calls General Motors’ offer ‘an insulting proposal that doesn’t come close to an equitable agreement’

General Motors on Thursday presented a counteroffer to its workers, shown here at a United Auto Workers event in July.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

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With a week to go until the United Auto Workers’ contracts with the Big Three expire, General Motors unveiled a proposal on Thursday that the union immediately rejected.

The offer by GM GM, -0.76% includes a 16% wage increase for most employees who earn the top rate at the automaker, compared with the 46% wage increase the union is seeking over the four-year contract. The offer also includes a $5,500 contract-ratification bonus, a $6,000 one-time inflation-recognition payment and a $5,000 inflation-recognition payment over the life of the contract.

“Our offer has been developed considering everything in our environment including competitor offers and what is important to our team members,” GM spokesperson David Barnas said Thursday, adding that “we still have work to do.”

UAW President Shawn Fain on Thursday released a statement asking GM to “stop wasting our members’ time.” He noted that the current contracts expire at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Sept. 14, and said “the clock is ticking” toward a possible strike, which 97% of the UAW’s 150,000 members authorized a couple of weeks ago.

“After refusing to bargain in good faith for the past six weeks, only after having federal labor board charges filed against them, GM has come to the table with an insulting proposal that doesn’t come close to an equitable agreement for America’s auto workers,” Fain said.

The union last week filed unfair-labor-practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against GM and Stellantis, accusing the companies of refusing to bargain in good faith. The companies denied the allegations.

See: GM’s stock adds to losses after UAW calls company’s offer ‘insulting’

Stellantis said it expects to send a counteroffer to the union’s proposals by the end of this week.

Also among GM’s offers, according to what the company sent to its employees Thursday: eliminating two progression steps for temporary employees and those who haven’t yet reached top pay, which would reduce the time to get to the maximum wage rate by 25%; and recognizing Juneteenth as a paid holiday.

Fain has also called a counterproposal by Ford Motor F, -0.91% insulting. That company’s proposal includes a 9% wage increase over the life of the contract. Fain said Ford has rejected all of the UAW’s job-security proposals, plus the union’s demand that Juneteenth be a paid holiday.

Ford called its proposal “significantly better” than what workers earn at Tesla TSLA, -0.17% and foreign automakers.

Related: Why United Auto Workers are fighting to end a two-tier system for wages and benefits