WAYNE, Mich. — Negotiations resumed Saturday between the United Auto Workers union and the Detroit Three automakers as the union’s strike against three major plants went into its second day.
The UAW said it had “a reasonably productive” conversation with Ford Motor Co.
Ford Chief Communications Officer Mark Truby said in a statement that the automaker's leaders "are committed to reaching an agreement with UAW that rewards our workers and allows Ford to invest in the future. We have to win together."
Meanwhile, Stellantis NV said it offered the UAW nearly 21% compounded wage increase and a pathway to "resolve" Belvidere Assembly Plant, the former Jeep Cherokee factory in north-central Illinois that was idled at the end of February, but that the proposal was only on the table until the contract expired at midnight Thursday.
UAW President Shawn Fain said the move is evidence the company sees workers as "a bargaining chip."
"Belvidere Assembly was a profitable plant that just a few years ago supported around 5,000 workers and their families," he said. "Now that number is zero, and Stellantis wants to keep playing games. Their attitude is: Stellantis giveth, and Stellantis taketh away. Our attitude is: Save Belvidere.”
Outside Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant at midday, workers’ energy remained high even at the end of a six-hour shift. Volunteers brought stacks of Little Caesars pizzas and Tim Hortons donuts to fuel picketers, and passing traffic honked in support.
Brian Poling, an hourly worker for UAW International, and his wife, Carrie, brought their daughters Kaylee, 7, and Zoe, 4, out to show their support.
“I want them to know that when they grow up, they can get a good job with good wages and good health care, that they can get by without going to paycheck to paycheck by doing an honest day’s work,” he said. “The UAW and other unions are the way to get there.”
Savon Hubbard, 46, and Keyona Clark, 24, work across from each other as sanders in the paint department. They say they're particularly frustrated by stagnant wages, but they're committed to striking for all of the union's major priorities — eliminating tiers, restoring cost-of-living adjustments, guaranteed pensions and more.
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