DETROIT, Mich. (WLNS) — A strike deadline for UAW members could be a few days away. The UAW is still looking for new contracts from the Big 3 automakers, and the clock is ticking.
The president of UAW Local 652 in Lansing, Ben Frantz, said negotiations have been tense all day. The union is pushing for better incentives and health care coverage, along with higher wages. But there are only a few days left before a possible strike.
“It’s not shareholders, it’s not stockholders and it’s not any of those executives that put these cars together,” said Frantz.
There are fewer than 72 hours left, and there is still no agreement between the nation’s largest automakers and the UAW.
“Pay the people who make you your profit.” said Frantz, who is one of several negotiators for the auto workers. He’s worked for General Motors in Lansing for 22 years. He says the company needs to start sharing its money with those who make the cars.
“General Motors is roughly making $1 billion in profit every 30 days. For the last 48 months,” said Frantz. “So I believe they have some room to move.”
Workers for General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, which was formed through a 2021 merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the French PSA Group, are asking for a more than 40% raise over the course of four years. They are also asking for a 32-hour work week, traditional pensions for new hires and union representation for workers at new battery plants.
“Since we’ve settled our last agreement in 2019, the pandemic hit, we’ve lived through a global supply chain issue and we’ve seen the cost of living and inflation,” said Frantz. “In a sense, we’ve been left behind for the past three years.”
A study by the East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group estimated that if workers strike for 10 days, it could mean a more than $5 billion loss for the U.S. economy.
“It’s gonna hit communities like Lansing extremely hard,” Frantz said. “We not only rely on General Motors, but the supply base here to keep our economy moving.”
And with that being said, Frantz wants executives to remember this.
“This negatively impacts more families than just the General Motors unit families,” he said.
The UAW’s current contract agreement will expire Thursday, Sept. 14 at 11:59 p.m.