GM, in a statement issued after workers at its plant in Wentzville, Mo., were called out on strike, said the company was “disappointed by the UAW leadership’s actions, despite the unprecedented economic package GM put on the table, including historic wage increases and manufacturing commitments.”
In a video posted online, GM’s top global manufacturing executive, Gerald Johnson, said the automaker submitted “four compelling offers” to the union.
Ford said it never received a “substantive counterproposal” from the UAW until 8 p.m. Thursday, four hours before the strike began. It called that offer “unsustainable” and said it “showed little movement from the union’s initial demands submitted Aug. 3.”
A source with knowledge of the negotiations said UAW President Shawn Fain appeared at the Ford bargaining table for the 8 p.m. offer but did not stay to continue the talks.
Fain then went on Facebook Live at 10 p.m. to announce the three plants being ordered to strike. He arrived at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant, about a 40-minute drive from the UAW’s headquarters where negotiations were taking place Thursday, shortly after midnight to join the workers on strike.
“They’ve had our economic demands for six weeks,” Fain told reporters outside the plant. “They waited until the last week to want to get down to business. Shame on them, and what they’re saying’s complete BS.”
Prior to the strike, Fain said the union would not meet with the automakers on Friday if negotiations remained unresolved. Instead, he and other union officials planned to visit picket lines and hold a rally with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in downtown Detroit.