The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has said it has filed unfair labour practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against General Motors and Stellantis, claiming they have refused to bargain in good faith.

Both companies have strenuously denied the unfair labour charges, a sign that both sides in the current contract negotiations between the UAW and Detroit Big 3 remain some way apart.

However, Ford has made what it says is a ‘generous’ contract offer to the UAW which is a 9% general wage increase over the life of the contract.

Ford said its offer on the upcoming contract would ‘provide our hourly employees with 15% guaranteed combined wage increases and lump sums, and improved benefits over the life of the contract’.

Ford said ‘wages (including overtime) and lump sum bonuses for Ford’s UAW-represented hourly workers would increase from $78,000 on average in 2022 to $92,000 in the first year of the contract’.

On top of $92,000 in wages and bonuses, UAW workers would also receive health care coverage worth $17,500 and other benefits worth an additional $20,500 in the first year, Ford said. Ford claimed health care for permanent UAW-represented hourly employees ‘would continue to rank in the top 1% of all employer-sponsored medical plans for lowest employee cost sharing’.

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The company also said full-time permanent Ford employees at the top wage rate could be paid $98,000 – from wages, cost-of-living adjustment bonus, ratification bonus, profit sharing and overtime – in the first year alone.

Overall, Ford maintained, the ‘offer is significantly better than what we estimate workers earn at Tesla and foreign automakers operating in the US.’

When Ford announced Q2 profits in July, UAW President Shawn Fain said: “Like every Big Three automaker, Ford is thriving.

“These eye-popping numbers come on top of a decade of massive profits. The Big Three made a quarter-trillion dollars in North American profits over the last decade, but they denied UAW members our fair share.

“No Ford worker should be stuck in a lower-tier job, without the good pay and pension that generations of autoworkers fought for. No Ford worker should wonder if the Blue Oval battery plants opening across the country will start a race to the bottom that undermines standards for all autoworkers. Seeing the billions that Ford is making, we know they can and must make things right for our workers and our communities.”

The UAW says its ‘members are thinking big and that the ‘Big Three can afford it’. It wants to eliminate tiers in the workforce and is seeking ‘double digit pay rises’ as well as other benefits. The UAW also wants all temporary workers at US automakers to be made permanent, enhanced profit sharing, substantial increase in paid time off, and the restoration of retiree health-care benefits and cost-of-living adjustments.

Last week, the UAW said about 97% of members voted in favour of authorizing a strike if agreement in the contract negotiations is not reached by September 14, 2023.

Ford’s UAW contract offer