© Reuters. The headquarters of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is seen in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said Friday it will investigate unfair labor practice charges filed by the United Auto Workers union against General Motors (NYSE:) and Chrysler-parent Stellantis (NYSE:).
The UAW said Thursday both automakers have refused to bargain in good faith. GM and Stellantis on Thursday denied the unfair labor charges.
GM said Friday in a video message that talks would continue into the long holiday weekend and that it was focusing on reaching a deal that “is fair and equitable… We want to finish a deal on time.”
The current four-year labor agreements covering 146,000 workers at the Detroit Three automakers expire on Sept. 14.
Both charges say the automakers over the last six months have refused to bargain in good faith over wages and benefits.
Separately, Ford Motor (NYSE:) said Thursday it had offered a 9% wage increase through 2027, much less than the 46% wage hike being sought by the union.
UAW President Shawn Fain said in online remarks Thursday evening that the sides are far apart.
“We’re going to fight like hell to get our equitable share of justice for workers,” he said. “We can get there – but these companies better buckle down and they better get serious.”
Fain said the Detroit automakers want the ability to close U.S. auto plants and move them to low-wage countries, adding that threats by the automakers to close American plants are “economic terrorism.”
Ford said its “generous offer” would provide hourly employees with 15% guaranteed combined wage increases and lump sums, and improved benefits.
The union’s demands include a 20% immediate wage increase, defined-benefit pensions for all workers, shorter work weeks and additional cost-of-living hikes.
Fain said neither GM nor Stellantis have made counteroffers.
Last week, the UAW said about 97% of members had voted in favor of authorizing a strike if agreements are not reached by Sept. 14.
The UAW also wants all temporary workers at U.S. automakers to be made permanent, enhanced profit sharing, substantial increases in paid time off, and the restoration of retiree healthcare benefits and cost-of-living adjustments.