Chicago, Oct 4 (IANS): Ford Motor Company has made its seventh offer to the United Auto Workers (UAW) amid ongoing contract negotiations as the auto strike against the 'Big Three' US automakers continued for the 19th day.
The "strongest" and "comprehensive" offer Ford made to the UAW on Monday night includes product commitments for every union-represented plant in the US; profit-sharing that would be available to temporary employees for the first time; a ratification bonus that temporary employees would be eligible to receive for the first time; an increase in starting pay for temporary workers to $21 per hour; conversion upon ratification of all temporary workers with at least three months of continuous service; and a wage increase of more than 20 per cent, reports Xinhua news agency
The offer also includes items Ford had already offered: the restoration of cost-of-living allowances, the elimination of wage tiers, reducing by "more than half" the time it takes workers to reach the top of the wage scale, and more time off including up to five weeks of vacation, an "average" of 17 paid holidays, and two "family days".
"There's no doubt our UAW workforce put us on their shoulders during the pandemic, and these same workers and their families were hit hard by inflation. We want to make sure our workers come out of these negotiations with two things -- a record contract and a strong future," Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement on Tuesday.
"We've put an offer on the table that will be costly for the company, especially given our large American footprint and UAW workforce, but one that we believe still allows Ford to invest in the future," he added.
The UAW however, has declined to comment.
Ford also accused the UAW of taking "a hard line" on electric vehicle battery plants.
"While Ford remains open to the possibility of working with the UAW on future battery plants in the US, these are multi-billion-dollar investments and must operate at competitive and sustainable levels," the Dearborn-based automaker said in the news release on Tuesday.
Ford is building four battery plants in the US: three that would be joint-venture operations with battery maker SK On in Tennessee and Kentucky, and another in Marshall, Michigan, that would be a wholly-owned Ford subsidiary.
The automaker has noted that the plants are not yet in operation and do not yet have workforces.
The next round of contract talks would be the time to talk about them.
As the strike goes on, the Big Three automakers are laying off more workers.
An additional 163 workers are out of work at General Motor Co's Toledo Propulsion Systems facility after the union on September 29 expanded its strike to include GM's SUV plants, GM said on Tuesday.
The UAW provided a counteroffer to GM on Monday.
Details of the offer haven't been released, but GM said on Monday that "significant gaps remain" between the two sides.
Ford announced a total of about 330 layoffs on Monday at the Chicago Stamping Plant and the Lima Engine Plant in Ohio, after the UAW expansion strike at its Chicago SUV assembly plant.
The UAW announced a strike at three select factories of Ford, GM, and Stellantis on September 14, after its contract with the Big Three expired.
It extended the strike to 38 GM and Stellantis parts distribution centers around the country on September 22, following a lack of meaningful progress in new contract negotiations.
It called on around 7,000 workers at two more GM and Ford SUV assembly plants to strike on September 29.
In all, about 25,300 out of some 146,000 Big Three automaker workers represented by the UAW are now on strike across the country.