Former industry leader slams Ford’s deal with UAW: ‘This was a gun to the head’

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A former industry executive criticized the tentative deal struck between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Ford earlier this week, accusing the labor union of having no regard for automakers.

“First of all, this is not like other labor negotiations,” Bob Lutz, who has worked for all three of the “Big Three” automakers facing strikes, told host John Catsimatidis Sunday on “The Cats Roundtable” on WABC 770 AM. “This was a gun to the head from a government-sanctioned monopoly called the labor union.”

“And in the past, the UAW always had a realistic respect for the needs of an automobile company to stay competitive,” he continued. “This time they did not, and I think a lot of what had to be given back was exactly the same things that caused the American automobile industry to be in big trouble in ’08.”

The UAW and Ford reached a tentative labor agreement after more than six weeks of strikes broke out across the country.

The four-year deal features a wage increase of 25 percent during the time of the contract, 11 percent coming in the first year. The pay raises may even lift to 33 percent via cost-of-living increases.

“Today, we reached a tentative agreement with Ford,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a video message Wednesday. “For months, we said record profits meant record contracts. And UAW family, our Stand Up Strike has delivered.”

Stellantis, another member of the “Big Three,” offered to match the Ford-UAW deal Saturday. Now, all eyes are on General Motors to see if they will come to a deal with the union.

The Associated Press reported friday that if GM and Stellantis didn’t make a deal, Fain would carry on with adding factories to the strikes.

The UAW went on strike at three Ford facilities beginning in mid-September after workers’ contracts ended, sending more than 16,000 Ford employees to picket lines.

The union demanded higher wages, shorter work weeks, union representation for battery plant workers and better retirement benefits, including restored pensions for new hires.

More than 45,000 of the union’s nearly 150,000 members are on strike nationwide.

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