Ford exec says automaker has reached its limit with latest UAW offer

Credit: Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. noted on Thursday that it has reached the limit of what it can offer the United Auto Workers (UAW) in a new labor contract. Despite this, the automaker remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached.

Ford has pushed a new offer to the UAW that features a number of benefits. These include raises totaling 23% for hourly workers, the reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments, and a $21 starting wage for temporary workers. The new offer would also allow new hires to reach top wages in three years. 

Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue, the company’s internal combustion engine (ICE) division, stated on Thursday that Ford’s most recent offer is the most that it can do. If Ford improves the offer further, the automaker would no longer be competitive

“We have reached our limit. We’ve actually stretched ourselves to get to this point… We’re open to moving some money around within the deal that might fit the union’s needs better. But broadly speaking, from an overall cost of the deal perspective, yes, we’re there,” Galhotra said. 

The UAW has been on strike against Ford, General Motors (GM), and Stellantis since September 15, which means that the protests are closing in on one month. On Wednesday, the union expanded the strike to Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant, the automaker’s largest and most profitable factory which produces the F-Series Super Duty, the Ford Expedition, and the Lincoln Navigator. 

Galhotra noted that Ford officials were surprised by the UAW’s decision to strike the Kentucky Truck Plant, as noted in an Automotive News report. He also denied that Ford had told the UAW that it would be improving its proposal. He also stated that about 600 suppliers are connected to the Kentucky Truck Plant, so the UAW’s protest could end up having a ripple effect on about 100,000 workers.  

“Going further will hurt our ability to invest in the business like we need to invest… We know UAW leadership set out to wound Ford for months. But this goes way beyond just hitting Ford’s profits,” the executive said. 

Wells Fargo analyst Colin Langan noted that the UAW’s strike at Ford’s most profitable plant could hint that negotiations are approaching their conclusion. 

“UAW leadership likely needs to strike Ford’s most profitable plant to show the rank-and-file that they are extracting the most from the automaker. Consequently, we think this escalation is a sign that the UAW could be close to a contract proposal with Ford in the next 1-2 weeks,” the analyst said. 

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Ford exec says automaker has reached its limit with latest UAW offer
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