UAW and GM Reportedly Closer to Deal As Strike Fallout Fears Grow
As the strike by General Motors workers in the U.S. enters its 11th day, bargaining teams from the automaker and UAW could be close to reaching a tentative labor agreement. Recent reports claim negotiations have ramped up in the past day or two.
UAW Vice President Terry Dittes acknowledged the progress in a letter to members Wednesday night, which should bring some comfort both to workers and dealers facing a dwindling supply of replacement parts.
“All unsettled proposals are now at the Main Table and have been presented to General Motors, and we are awaiting their response,” Dittes said in the letter. “This back and forth will continue until Negotiations are complete.”
There could still be a ways to go before both sides reach an agreement, but all signs point to negotiations entering the home stretch. CNBC cites sources who claim talks hit the accelerator during the past 24 to 48 hours.
UAW members will still have to ratify the deal once negotiations wrap up, adding additional length to the first GM strike since 2007.
While the strike has had ripple effects in Canada, with an assembly plant and engine facility both experiencing temporary layoffs, the local economy near U.S. GM plants is also taking a hit. Seven percent of Michigan’s wages stem from the auto industry, and numerous businesses draw their income from the building and selling of cars and parts. Even more exist, in part, to serve workers — workers who aren’t walking through their doors for a meal, for example.
And, while inventory seems sufficient to avoid vehicle shortages at dealers in the short term, service departments aren’t quite as content. Some dealers report a backlog of customers as replacement part availability dries up.
Speaking to the Detroit free Press, one Bakersfield, California GM dealer claimed the list of vehicles waiting for parts numbered 50, a drastic increase from the normal 15.
“Most customers are being understanding,” said John Pitre, chief operating officer at Motor City Buick GMC. “We’re digging through other dealers’ parts to get what we can and looking in the aftermarket. But there are things you can’t get, especially for a newer vehicle.”
Paul Zimmerman of George Matick Chevrolet in Redford, Michigan says special-order parts are the hardest to procure. All dealers contacted faced challenges finding certain parts, though run-of-the-mill stuff like brakes can still be found in abundance. Which isn’t to say they aren’t hoping for a swift end to the strike.
[Image: General Motors]
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