UAW union makes progress with 1 of 3 automakers as strike deadline looms

A worker assembles a Ford vehicle at the company's Chicago Assembly Plant (2010). Ford, General Motors and Stellantis are locked in negotiations with the UAW this week as a strike deadline looms at midnight Thursday. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI

Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Stellantis NV, the owner of Jeep and Chrysler, reached a partial agreement with the United Auto Workers union on Monday as a strike deadline looms that could cost the auto industry more than $1 billion.

The union and automaker reached a tentative agreement on health and safety issues, a positive step forward to handling other issues for their contract before the current one expires at midnight Thursday.

"There is still more work to do, but we know that Stellantis and the UAW have a shared interest in these discussions: reaching an agreement that secures the future for our employees and their families," said Tobin Williams, senior vice president of human resources of Stellantis North America in a note to workers.

"We are on a good path and remain committed to reaching a tentative agreement without a work stoppage that would negatively impact our employees and our customers."

Stellantis also sent a second proposal to the union on Monday. The first proposal to the union, which included a 14.5% pay raise to most employees was swiftly rejected. UAW President Shawn Fain rejected similar raise proposals from Ford and General Motors as inadequate with members facing inflation pressures.

The UAW proposal wants the automakers to make temporary workers into full-time after 90 days, give the union the right to strike over plant closures, and more paid time off, including recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday.

Ford wants the right to outsource any work at any time and GM and Stellantis have agreed to give workers paid time off during Juneteenth. All three so far have rejected all UAW changes to pension and retiree healthcare plans.