DETROIT (AP) — About 146,000 members of the United Auto Workers union will vote next week on authorizing their leaders to call strikes against the Detroit automakers.
Union President Shawn Fain said in a statement Tuesday that talks are moving slowly and have yet to get to wages and other economic issues.
The union’s contracts with General Motors, Ford and Stellantis expire in about a month, at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 14.
The union did not name a target company for a strike in its Tuesday statement. Fain is scheduled to hold a Facebook Live meeting with workers later Tuesday.
Strike authorization votes are a routine part of contract talks and are often overwhelmingly approved.
Messages were left seeking comment from all three automakers.
Fain has set high expectations for the contract talks and says the union will seek more than 40% general pay raises over four years, restoration of pensions for newer hires, cost-of-living increases, an end to wage tiers, and other benefits. He has said workers can make big gains but must be ready to strike to get them.
The union also wants guarantees that it will represent workers at 10 U.S. electric vehicle battery plants proposed by the companies. Most are joint ventures with Korean battery companies.
Fain has complained that Stellantis is seeking concessions in the contract when the union wants gains. But a union spokesman said singling out Stellantis doesn’t mean the UAW has picked a company as a strike target, and it could choose all three.
Automakers say they are facing billions of dollars in development costs as the industry shifts from combustion engines to electric vehicles.
In a letter to employees last week, Stellantis Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart accused Fain of “theatrics and personal insults” that Stewart said will not help to reach a deal. He wrote that the company is committed to an agreement based on “economic realism” that supports the viability of Stellantis’ operations while rewarding workers.
The company, he wrote, wants to find solutions to protect Stellantis from nonunion companies with lower costs and additional costs from moving to electric vehicles. “Mr. Fain’s demands could endanger our ability to make decisions in the future that provide job security for our employees,” the letter said.
GM said Monday it’s bargaining in good faith on a “contract that provides job security and supports good wages and benefits for our team members while enabling companies to compete successfully domestically and globally.”