UAW Bargaining to Start With GM; Members Authorize Strike

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

With less than two weeks left before contracts with Detroit Three autoworkers expire, the United Automobile Workers has chosen General Motors as the first company to enter bargaining talks. What occurs between the UAW and GM will set the stage for subsequent contracts with Ford and Fiat Chrysler.

Going into the talks, which UAW does under a dark cloud born of its bribery and kickback scandal, the union comes armed with a strike authorization approved by its members.

On Monday, the UAW released the results of the strike authorization vote — a normal part of the lead-up to bargaining. Each member of the Detroit Three voted overwhelmingly to use a potential strike as a bargaining chip, with GM workers slightly more inclined to walk the picket line than the other two. The finally tally was 96.4 percent at GM, 96 percent at FCA, and 95.98 percent at Ford.

GM, of course, finds itself in a tumultuous time, with five North American plants slated for shuttering. Lordstown, Ohio’s Chevrolet Cruze plant went offline for good earlier this year. Detroit’s Hamtramck assembly plant has already stopped producing the Chevrolet Cruze and Buick LaCrosse, with production of the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6 expected to end in January of next year.

“Mary Barra said from the outset of these talks that we will stand up as we tackle a changing industry. We are ready to stand strong for our future,” said UAW President Gary Jones, who saw his home raided by federal agents just last week.

“We are focused. We are prepared and we are all ready to stand up for our members, our communities and our manufacturing future.”

Detroit Three contracts expire at midnight on September 14th. Given the job cuts, and plant closures experienced throughout the industry — but especially among domestic manufacturers fearful of a recession — industry watchers expect this round of bargaining to be a tense affair. Automakers aren’t likely to be as willing to toss out generous wage increases and perks this time around, raising the specter of an unavoidable strike.

“No one goes into collective bargaining taking a strike lightly. But it is a key tool in the tool belt as our bargaining team sits across from the company,” Jones said. “Ultimately, the company holds that destiny in their hands as they bargain. Clearly the UAW stood up for them in a very dark time, now that they are profitable it is time for them to stand up for all of us.”

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 03, 2019

    Agree at this point GM has nothing to lose from a strike. GM's launch of the new Silverado and Sierra was a dud. Ram has a more compelling truck at this point Ram will just continue to take more sales away from Silverado and Sierra. I do like the Impala and the discontinued LaCrosse but they are no more. There is not enough to the Malibu to make it stand out in a highly competitive midsize car market which is shrinking by the day. Buick is a brand that has more relevance in China than the US, Cadillac has been so badly mismanaged that it is no longer a thought to most Americans (Cadillac has had more lives than a cat and I cannot see too many more). As for Toyota and Honda they are not bad but they are living on past reputations and their quality is not what it use to be. Hyundai and Kia have been constantly improving their products and they are the ones that are raising the bar. The Chinese will be the ones to watch in the future despite the current trade war.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Sep 04, 2019

      The trade war with China will end, eventually, or remain at a stalemate which is also OK with me since it does mean money flowing into the US Treasury, and Chinese-made goods becoming more expensive and less desirable to buy for Norte Americanos. What I would like to see if President gets re-elected is for him to rip our European trade partners a new @sshole since they have enjoyed low or no tariffs on their goods imported into the US, while taxing and tariffing the hell out of American-made goods imported into their countries. Slap a 25% tariff on all European-made cars! That will get their undivided attention.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Sep 08, 2019

    GM + UAW = Happy Customers 4 Ever Massive, massive positive synergies.

  • Redapple2 Another bad idea from the EVIL gm Vampire.
  • Daniel J Alabama is a right to work state so I'd be interested in how this plays out. If a plant in Alabama unionized, there are many workers who's still oppose joining and can work.
  • ToolGuy This guest was pretty interesting.
  • NJRide So this is an average age of car to be junked now and of course this is a lower end (and now semi-orphaned) product. But street examples seem to still be worth 2500? So are cars getting junked only coming in because of a traumatic repair? If not it seems a lot of cars being junked that would still possibly worth more than scrap.Also Murilee I remember your Taurus article way back what is the king of the junkyard in 2024?
  • AMcA I applaud Toyota for getting away from the TRD performance name. TuRD. This is another great example of "if they'd just thought to preview the name with a 13 year old boy."