The leader of the United Auto Workers on Tuesday adamantly defended lofty demands for the union’s members who work for the Detroit automakers, while calling recent contract proposals from Stellantis “trash.”
UAW President Shawn Fain during a Facebook Live webcast heavily criticized early bargaining proposals from the Chrysler and Jeep parent company before throwing the packet of papers into a garbage can.
Fain laid out reported changes to the contract involving holiday and vacation days, absenteeism, 401k contributions, profit-sharing payments and other proposals that he described as “concessionary.”
“Stellantis’ proposals are a slap in the face. They’re an insult to our members’ hard work over the last four years,” Fain said. “Rather than honoring the sacrifice made by the employees [during the Covid pandemic], management’s chosen to spit in our faces.”
Stellantis did not immediately respond for comment.
They come a week after the UAW publicly said it wants double-digit pay raises and defined-benefit pensions for all workers, citing 40% pay raises on average over the last four years for the CEOs of the companies.
Fain on Tuesday called proposed pay increases “well-deserved.” The union last week said it presented its economic demands that included “big wage increases,” more paid time off and re-establishing retiree medical benefits as well as cost-of-living-adjustments.
The current contracts between the UAW and Detroit automakers expire on Sept. 14.
Contract talks between the union and automakers usually begin in earnest in July ahead of mid-September expirations of the previous four-year agreements. Typically, one of the three automakers is the lead, or target, company that the union selects to negotiate with first and the others extend their deadlines. However, Fain has said this year may be different, without going into specific details.
Fain reiterated Tuesday that Sept.14 “is a deadline, it’s not a reference point.”
“To the Big Three, the clock is ticking. It’s time to get down to business,” Fain said during the Facebook event.
Fain also criticized Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares for not meeting with union leaders to open the negotiations. Tavares, who is based in Europe, has publicly said that he did not plan to be involved in the day-to-day of the bargaining, instead relying on his regional leaders.