FOX 2 (WJBK) - Ford Motor Company put an offer on the table to the UAW Thursday, but it was rejected.
The United Auto Workers are holding firm with existing Big 3 deals set to expire in two weeks. The UAW also filed unfair labor practice charges against General Motors and Stellantis.
Union President Shawn Fain took to Facebook Live announcing charges of unfair labor practices filed with the National Labor Relations Board against GM and Stellantis.
"Our goal is not to strike. Our goal is to bargain a fair contract. But if we have to strike to win economic and social justice, then we will," said UAW President Shawn Fain.
Also up for discussion - the stalled labor talks with General Motors and Stellantis.
"We need to speak out together with one voice against GM and Sellantis' illegal refusal to bargain in good faith," he said. "And we need to be ready to go on strike if necessary."
UAW members overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike last week, but Fain says hitting the picket lines is not the goal, if the money looks right,
"What's driving members' expectations are the Big Three's profits. You can make $21 billion in profits in half a year and expect members to take a mediocre contract," he said. "You can't make a quarter trillion dollars in North American profits over the last decade and expect us to keep aiming low and settling lower."
GM responded to the charge in a statement saying in part:
"We are surprised by and strongly refute the NLRB charge filed by the International UAW. We believe it has no merit and is an insult to the bargaining committees. We have been hyper-focused on negotiating directly and in good faith with the UAW and are making progress."
Stellantis also released a statement in response saying "Stellantis has not received the filing but is shocked by Mr. Fain's claims that we have not bargained in good faith. This is a claim with no basis in fact, and we are disappointed to learn that Mr. Fain is more focused on filing frivolous legal charges than on actual bargaining."
Ford's offer would give hourly workers 15% guaranteed combined increases in wages and better benefits over the life of the contract according to a release.
Wages along with overtime and bonuses, would jump from under $80,000 last year to $92,000 in the first year of the deal, but the union leadership has said it's not quite a fair agreement.
So could a strike be averted with just two weeks to go?
"It might be really hard just based on the rhetoric and where both sides are coming from," said Mike Martinez.
Martinez has been covering the contract talks for Automotive News. He says any strike would be devastating for the industry.
"That could be financially disastrous," he said. "Even if it's a short strike, we've seen estimates saying a 10-day strike could cost $5 billion. That's really an unfathomable amount of money. If it lasts beyond that, it would be even more."
The UAW is trying to recover alot of concessions going back to the Great Recession and the Big Three are not denying there have been big profits but say it is very expensive to transition full-scale to EVs.