GM Plays Hardball With the UAW; Pyrrhic Victory?

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
gm plays hardball with the uaw pyrrhic victory

On April 17, United Auto Workers (UAW) union members at GM's Delta Township plant walked out in a dispute over their local contract (two-tier terms and conditions). The action shut down production of two of GM's most popular products: the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave (Saturn Outlook production also halted). After almost a month spent working its way through a dwindling dealer inventory, the Detroit News reports GM turned up the heat on Delta's striking workers. At midnight Wednesday, GM canceled their medical and life insurance benefits. As of 4:30 am today, the Local's web site is reporting a tentative agreement. (The site instructs picketers to continue "until further notice.") Whether GM will apply the same pressure at the Fairfax plant in Kansas– where Malibu production was halted by a similar strike– is unknown. 'Bu production continues at the Orion plant in Michigan, and there's a 34-day inventory on the lots. Still, between the strikes at American Axle and Alliance Interiors and negotiating the local contracts, GM's hardening line on "local disruptions" is both understandable and predictable. But will the UAW now toughen theirs? Count on it.

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  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on May 15, 2008

    It will be interesting to see if GMs quality scores reflect a cheerful work force on 2008 models.

  • Mlbrown Mlbrown on May 15, 2008

    Mexican tree manufacturing? -Matt

  • Ralph SS Ralph SS on May 15, 2008

    Yeah, yeah, those silly UAW'ers. Fighting for what they have when da company can just replace dem. If they were worth anything they'd get real jobs like becoming an auto executive. Then they could just appoint board members who would make sure they get obscene salaries, big raises and golden parachutes no matter how the company they were responsible for did. But, no. They wallow around the shop floors trying to save there worthless pitiful jobs like they were important or something. Anyone can make a car. Just ask Chery. Or Tata. Yeah, dats right. Yeah, I can sit here at my desk being paid by someone who thinks I'm working when I'm actually typing witty slams about people and their jobs even though I've never walked in there shoes.

  • CarShark CarShark on May 15, 2008

    Ralph SS: Whine all you want. That's the way it is. They aren't important. The UAW has no leverage. The CAW has even less than that. Now that GM's finally grown a pair (it seems) any fight they do put up only makes it that much more likely that GM ships their jobs to someone else. For once, a bit of give might be what the UAW needs.