UAW strike may be starting to affect Detroit's Big Three finances

We're closing in on three weeks of UAW's stand-up strike and it's starting to take a financial toll on Detroit's Big Three. But that doesn't mean they're giving in.

UAW members have made it clear through picketing: They're not giving in. Their requests for higher pay and the end of tiers have rung out through the U.S. over the past three weeks as union President Shawn Fain's multi-pronged approach to slowly call on local union chapters to strike against Ford, GM, and Stellantis is starting to affect the big three.

Outside the Stellantis facility in Center Line, UAW member Kina Johnson said Fain speaks for them.

"The UAW has a strike fund so we have to mindful of how we use that strike fund. We elected him and we have to agree with the choices that he makes and hope he’ll help the people," she said.

The UAW fund was estimated at $825 million at the start of the strike in mid-September. There has not been an estimate released since the strike started. 

Last week The UAW expanded its strike against GM and Ford adding roughly 7,000 workers to the picket line, bringing the total members on the picket line to 25,000.

As the strike continues, Ford has made a significant offer to the UAW which includes record pay and benefits. Workers would get a pay raise of more than 20%, along with cost-of-living allowances for inflation.

Additionally, all tiers would be eliminated while wage progression would be reduced by more than half the time it takes to earn top wages. Average new hires will earn six figures by the fourth year. Temporary employees would be included in profit sharing and full ratification bonus, Ford said. 

Wayne State University Professor Dr. Marick Masters says this offer could be a sign of significant progress. 

"That represents another step in the right direction. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were getting close to an agreement," Masters said.

Along with the striking members, thousands of non-union workers are being furloughed or laid off by Detroit's Big Three as well.

Also this week, GM secured a $6 billion line of credit and they're not alone – Ford added $4 billion in August. But Masters says this isn't exactly a waiving of the flag. 

"I would say it’s more on the line of financial prudence. They're covering their bases and making certain if any unforeseen eventualities occur that they have the basis of responding quickly," Masters said.