News & Commentary

October 22, 2023

Swap Agrawal

Swap Agrawal is a student at Harvard Law School.

In this weekend’s news and commentary, the UAW continues to make progress with the Big Three, and the AMPTP returns to the negotiating table with SAG-AFTRA.

On October 20, the UAW said that it had received new contract offers from two of the Big Three automakers. Both Stellantis and General Motors reported that they were raising their offers to match the 23% wage hike and other benefit improvements previously offered by Ford. UAW gave public updates on Friday to its members on where things stand at Stellantis, General Motors, and Ford. UAW President Shawn Fain acknowledged that the automakers have offered record contracts and did not call for any more plant walkouts. However, he said the union needs more before it can agree to a deal. “There is more to be won,” Fain said during an online broadcast. “These are already record contracts, but they come at the end of decades of record decline. So it’s not enough to be the best ever, when auto workers have gone backwards over the last two decades. That’s a very low bar.” UAW initially demanded 40% wage increases, but Bloomberg reports that the union is now looking for a 25% increase. Fain indicated that a deal is close. “We’ve got cards left to play and they’ve got money left to spend,” Fain said. “That’s the hardest part of the strike. Right before a deal is when there is the most aggressive push for that last mile.”

On October 21, SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP issued a joint statement announcing that they will resume bargaining on Tuesday, October 24. The two sides are returning to the table as pressure is mounting on the union to reach a deal with the studios, as demonstrated by the failed proposal that George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, and other A-list actors presented to SAG-AFTRA leadership last week. The announcement came shortly after Fran Drescher published an article in Deadline commemorating the 100th day of SAG-AFTRA’s strike and calling for the AMPTP to return to the table. She said that SAG-AFTRA members are in a “David-and-Goliath, righteous fight for the future of our profession and our industry.” She also noted that when negotiations between the union and the AMPTP resumed on October 2, the CEOs gave the union only two full-day and three half-day bargaining sessions to resolve contentious issues such as streaming rights, AI, minimum compensation increases before the AMPTP walked away again on October 11. It remains to be seen whether this bargaining session will be more productive.

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