UAW and GM Reportedly Closer to Deal As Strike Fallout Fears Grow

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
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  • Redapple Redapple on Sep 26, 2019

    Big deal over all Cry somewhere else. Less than a 2 week strike every 12 years. Big deal. Now that the pattern has been set - no strike at FCA and Ford.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Sep 26, 2019

      That's the deal with the UAW pattern contracts. GM and the UAW have to look at what's possible with the other two automakers to make it work. Otherwise there would be rotating strikes at each automaker, if the others can't afford what the first one agreed to. You're right, the other contract negotiations will go more smoothly. Ford isn't shutting down plants, and FCA is investing in modernization, so the main problem with GM shutting down existing domestic plants doesn't exist with the others. There's still the money component, and what GM agrees to might crimp Ford and FCA. But there are other dollar tradeoffs that can smooth over negotiations, as long as the main pattern is retained. They ARE separate contracts with companies that have different operations, with minor different provisions to account for different circumstances.

  • Dantes_inferno Dantes_inferno on Sep 27, 2019

    GM and UAW: Sorry. Not buying.

  • Lou_BC Question of the day: Anyone actually care to own an old TVR?
  • Bd2 First, this was totally predictable. 2nd, Genesis already does have hybrids in the form of a 48V mild hybrid, but more performance oriented (supercharged and turbocharged), so not really helping with regard to fuel consumption. 3rd, Hyundai's hybrid systems don't really help as there currently isn't one that would be suitable power-wise and the upcoming 2.5T hybrid system would have to be heavily reworked to accommodate a RWD/longitudinal layout. 4th, it seems that Genesis is opting to go the EREV route with the GV70 the first get the new powertrain.
  • Bd2 Jaguar's problem was chasing the Germans into the mid size and then entry-level/compact segments for volume, and cheapening their interiors while at it.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Aja8888 I expected that issue with my F150 starting at 52,000mi. luckily I had an extended warranty and it saved me almost $8,000. No more Fords for me, only Toyota.
  • Lou_BC I saw a news article on this got a different read on it. Ford wants to increase production of HD trucks AND develop hybrid and EV variants of the SuperDuty. They aren't scaling back EV production. Just building more HD's and EV variants of HD's .