Premature Celebration: Ford Says Still "Significant Gaps" To Close In UAW Negotiations

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Sep 25, 2023 - 01:40 PM

Celebrations about UAW progress with Ford over the weekend were likely premature as Ford said late on Sunday that there were still "significant gaps to close" in negotiations with the United Auto Workers union.

Ford said over the weekend the "issues are interconnected and must work within an overall agreement that supports our mutual success," according to Reuters. The exclamation comes after the UAW said there was "real progress" in talks with Ford on Friday. 

Late on Friday United Auto Workers boss Shawn Fain had come out in the morning and stated that: "Ford is serious about reaching a deal," but "It's a different story at GM and Stellantis." 

And so, unlike with Ford, the United Auto Workers broadened their strike actions against General Motors and Stellantis to include 38 parts distribution hubs throughout the U.S. There was no immediate confirmation as to whether high-level negotiations occurred with GM and Stellantis over the past weekend.

On Friday, Fain said: "Today at noon Eastern time, all of the parts distribution facilities of GM and Stellantis are being called to stand up and strike." He said on Friday there would be strikes at 38 locations across 20 states. 

Kicking off unparalleled, concurrent strikes on September 15 at a single manufacturing plant for each of the Detroit Big Three automakers, the UAW's move follows the expiration of their previous four-year labor contracts. With the additional strikes launched last Friday against GM and Stellantis, an estimated 5,600 more workers joined the initial 12,700 who were already on the picket line.

"Either the Big Three get down to business and work with us to make progress in negotiations, or more locals will be called on to stand up and go out on strike," Fain said early last week. 

Bloomberg said last week that: "An expanded strike could ratchet up pressure on the carmakers to reach a deal. Fain's strategy has been to keep the companies guessing about his next move. But more members walking on also poses a risk to the union in the form of a diminished strike fund." 

The pressure is on for automakers and the union to find common ground at the bargaining table. Morgan Stanley's auto strategist, Adam Jonas, revealed in a note to clients last week:

"The value of N. American light production of the D3 (F, GM, STLA collectively) is approximately $750mm per day (approx. 15k units per day). Applying slightly more than a 30% decremental (yes, mix is that high) implies around $250mm of lost profit per day (assuming 100% of production impacted)."

Last week we detailed how the UAW strike was costing the Detroit 3 $250 million in lost profit every day. 

One River CIO Eric Peters wrote last week about the strike's progress: "... in the timeless conflict between capital and labor, it is extremely rare for the imbalance to be so extreme. The wider the gap, the bigger the stakes. And the last time the chasm was so great was at the height of the Roaring 1920s."