Michigan: Ford Motor says its offer of a 23 per cent raise to the United Auto Workers is the best that it can do and that going any higher would hurt the company.
The UAW escalated its nearly month-old strike by walking out of Ford’s largest plant late Wednesday when the automaker failed to sweeten its economic proposal. Ford contends there is nothing left to give.
“We have been very clear that we are at the limit,” Kumar Galhotra, head of Ford’s internal combustion business, said in a briefing with reporters Thursday. “We stretched to get to this point. Going further will hurt our ability to invest in the business.”
That conflicts with the union’s version of how the two sides reached an impasse. A person familiar with the negotiations said Ford had indicated to the union that it could add to the economic offer it made early last week. This came after UAW President Shawn Fain said October 6 that Ford’s proposal included the 23 per cent raise, higher than the 20 per cent offers from General Motors and Chrysler-parent Stellantis NV.
Ford officials said they were taken off guard by the walkout at its Kentucky truck plant, which builds the lucrative Super Duty pickup truck, Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition large sport-utility vehicles. Ford had been focusing this week on trying to match an offer from GM to cover future battery plant workers under the UAW’s master contract, as well as the union’s request to restore traditional pensions.
“We thought we were making progress on both and we were quite surprised at the escalation,” Galhotra said. “We made several proposals to the union” on battery plants.