CHICAGO, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Ford Motor Company on Tuesday made its seventh offer to the United Auto Workers (UAW) amid ongoing contract negotiations as the auto strike against the Big Three U.S. automakers enters the 19th day.
The "strongest" and "comprehensive" offer Ford made to the UAW Monday night includes product commitments for every UAW-represented plant in the United States, profit-sharing that would be available to temporary employees for the first time, a ratification bonus that temporary employees would be eligible to receive for the first time, an increase in starting pay for temporary workers to 21 U.S. dollars per hour, conversion upon ratification of all temporary workers with at least three months of continuous service and a wage increase of more than 20 percent.
The offer also includes items Ford had already offered: the restoration of cost-of-living allowances, the elimination of wage tiers, reducing by "more than half" the time it takes workers to reach the top of the wage scale, and more time off including up to five weeks of vacation, an "average" of 17 paid holidays, and two "family days."
"There's no doubt our UAW workforce put us on their shoulders during the pandemic, and these same workers and their families were hit hard by inflation. We want to make sure our workers come out of these negotiations with two things -- a record contract and a strong future," The Detroit News quoted Ford CEO Jim Farley as saying in a statement on Tuesday.
"We've put an offer on the table that will be costly for the company, especially given our large American footprint and UAW workforce, but one that we believe still allows Ford to invest in the future," he added.
The UAW declined to comment.
Ford also accused the UAW of taking "a hard line" on electric vehicle battery plants. "While Ford remains open to the possibility of working with the UAW on future battery plants in the United States, these are multi-billion-dollar investments and must operate at competitive and sustainable levels," the Dearborn-based automaker said in the news release on Tuesday.
Ford is building four battery plants in the United States: three that would be joint-venture operations with battery maker SK On in Tennessee and Kentucky, and another in Marshall, Michigan, that would be a wholly-owned Ford subsidiary.
The automaker has noted that the plants are not yet in operation and do not yet have workforces. The next round of contract talks would be the time to talk about them.