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UAW Strike Day 6: Stellantis makes new counteroffer, announces layoffs along with GM

UAW Strike Day 6: Stellantis makes new counteroffer, announces layoffs along with GM
UAW Strike Day 6: Stellantis makes new counteroffer, announces layoffs along with GM 03:08

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Stellantis has put forth a new counteroffer, the first one from the Big Three since the strike began last Friday.

A spokesperson for Stellantis indicated this offer deals with health and safety issues and attendance policies. 

The union is currently reviewing it.

It comes as members of Local 412 are gathered for a practice picket outside Stellantis' Headquarters, ready to walk if their demands aren't met. 

Auto Workers Strike
United Auto Workers march outside the Stellantis North American Headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, in Auburn Hills, Mich. Carlos Osorio / AP

"Our groups haven't seen a wage increase in three cycles. We've had two in 12 years. How would you feel if your boss came to you and said, 'Hey, next 12 years, you're only getting two wage increases?' You'd hate it, wouldn't you? Yeah, Well, that's what we're dealing with here," said Todd Raymond, a member of Local 412. 

Traditionally, contract talks have happened under a cloak of secrecy, but UAW President Shawn Fain has tossed out the playbook. This time, bringing in the court of public opinion. 

"Things need to be played out. They need to see these bad offers we're getting from management; they need to see the good offers and the things that Shawn is trying to do on our end to get better contracts," Raymond said. 

But General Motors President Mark Reuss slammed the UAW in an op-ed published in the Detroit Free Press, claiming the union is spreading misinformation counterproductive to contract talks and that what they're demanding is unsustainable for the company.

"If we don't continue to invest, we will lose ground — quickly. Our competitors across the country and around the world, most of whom are non-union, will waste no time seizing the opportunity we would be handing them," Reuss wrote.

The union is expected to do its own op-ed as a rebuttal. 

Day 6 of UAW strike: Where do automakers stand? 03:11

"The union has succeeded in defining the debate in framing the debate because they got on board with the public relations campaign early. The companies are playing catch. They're working from behind. And always, they're the big dog in the fight. And they tend to get more disfavor than the union, the auto workers, so they've got a long way to go," said Marick Masters, professor of management at Wayne State University. 

And although it hasn't happened, there's always a chance that both sides can walk away from the bargaining table.

"They've got proposals on the table. And I'm not certain they're willing to move far off those proposals at this point in time. And that's really the definition of an impasse, that there's not anymore give and take and that your discussions are not necessarily fruitful; you're just repeating yourself over and over again. So I think you can only go so long in that position before you have to just let events take over and see what the impact of a strike might be," Masters said.

CBS News Detroit has learned the union will meet with Stellantis on Thursday to discuss this latest counteroffer, the fifth one the automaker has made since talks began in July. 

Stellantis also announced Wednesday they're laying off 68 workers at a plant outside Toledo because of the ongoing strike, and they're expecting more layoffs to happen at its transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana.

Hours earlier, GM announced that it would be laying off 2,000 workers at its plant in Kansas City, Kansas, because there's no work for them since they depend on parts from the Wentzville, Missouri plant where workers walked off the job last Friday.

Those familiar with the ongoing talks say employees laid off because of the strike will be added to the UAW strike pay list and receive $500 a week.

If there isn't significant progress in negotiations this week, Fain will announce Friday morning in a Facebook Live which plants will go on strike at noon.

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