UAW Strike: General Motors Reportedly Fed Up

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
uaw strike general motors reportedly fed up

Our last update on the GM-UAW strike revolved around union reps playing hardball on issues like health care, wages, temporary employees, skilled trades, and job security. The United Auto Workers sent General Motors’ proposals back, holding its nose in disapproval.

With the strike now roughly one month deep and looking like it may disrupt the automaker’s well-laid plans, GM is firing back by suggesting the workers’ union is intentionally wasting everybody’s time. The company’s latest contract offer was issued Monday, with the union having yet to offer any formal feedback. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra even joined negotiations on Wednesday in an effort to speed up discussions. But the UAW has said it will only issue a counter proposal after five separate committees address a “series of issues” and the automaker publicly furnishes its suggestions.

“We object to having bargaining placed on hold pending a resolution of these five areas,” Scott Sandefur, GM’s vice president of North American labor relations, wrote to UAW Vice President Terry Dittes on Thursday. “As we have urged repeatedly, we should engage in bargaining over all issues around-the-clock to get an agreement.”

The document was later intercepted by Bloomberg, and seems to indicate Barra’s meeting with Dittes and UAW President Gary Jones earlier in the week could have gone better.

From Bloomberg:

The messages mark a turning point for GM in the fourth week of a strike that’s halted production at 34 U.S. plants and disrupted output at factories in Mexico and Canada. While GM publicly released details of its first formal offer to the union on Sept. 15 — the day the UAW announced a walkout — the company had kept a lid on public criticism of union leaders, who themselves are dealing with a credibility crisis linked to a federal corruption investigation. GM is now upping the pressure on UAW negotiators in a bid to clinch an agreement.

GM’s latest offer boosts wages and lump-sum payments, and preserves health care benefits, Gerald Johnson, the automaker’s executive vice president of manufacturing, wrote to employees Friday. It enhances profit-sharing, including by lifting the cap on how much is paid out based on the company’s earnings. UAW members would receive bigger ratification bonuses than in 2015, when each worker was paid $8,000 signing bonuses. And the offer gives temporary workers a clear path to permanent status, Johnson said.

“We have advised the union that it’s critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers,” he wrote.

Even before the strike began, Dittes has repeatedly suggested that one of the biggest issues for the UAW is job security. GM has reduced its work force at several factories and workers are apprehensive that they could endure the same fate as Lordstown Assembly — which never got a replacement for the Chevrolet Cruze and ended up being idled. However the company has since hinted that there may be a battery plant moving into Lordstown, offering the potential promise of replacement jobs.

General Motors has also proposed investing $7 billion into U.S. facilities it said would support over 5,000 assignments and is attempting to define a pathway for temporary workers to attain full-time status. Union sources have also claimed that the most-recent health care plan being offered has received few complaints.

Consider that the silver lining. Overall, negotiations are still a bit of a mess and all sides are suffering. GM shares have fallen 11 percent since the strike began and analysts believe the company is closing in on a $1 billion profit loss. Meanwhile, direct wage losses for all employees have already surpassed $400 million and continue to climb.

[Image: Linda Parton/Shutterstock]

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 14, 2019

    @HC--Maybe so but do you believe it is right to have a President ask publicly and openly for a foreign power to spy on a US citizen as a matter of fact I don't remember a President ever openly asking for that to be done. Where do you draw the line? Would you draw the line if a President openly ask for a foreign power to assassinate a person that does not share his views? Do you approve of videos showing the President shooting those who oppose him whether this is done in jest? I hope our society has not reached that point. As for robotics that is what is happening even in countries where the labor is inexpensive. Better quality control and robots don't strike or call in sick.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 15, 2019

    @Art Vandelay--I don't have any children but I have nephews with kids in the service. I would prefer the US stay out of any interventions but then that is not up to me. There is too much money to be made by the defense industry and too many campaign contributions to politicians to ever hope that we will never get in another conflict. My point is that as soon as Turkey invaded Syria the first thing they did was to free the ISIS prisoners which most likely we will go in again at some point in the future and fight them again. Not exactly a winning strategy but then wars make the defense industry lots of money and we have the best political system money can buy. Getting back to this article GM and the UAW will most likely not settle anytime soon and many of us on this forum have said this from the beginning of this strike.

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  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
  • Sgeffe As was stated in another comment, the FAA nominee went down in flames. But the NTSB chairwoman certainly didn’t, and she’s certainly not qualified either!Lots of this kind of stuff going on both sides of the aisle—Ben Carson would have arguably made a better Surgeon General than HUD Secretary under Trump, for example.
  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.
  • Stuart de Baker EVs just aren't ready for prime time for those with a single car and who take road trips. Being able to charge as soon as you arrive at a charging station, and even the chargers working on your car is a crapshoot. In the former case, you could have to wait for nearly an hour while someone else is charging.I also don't find EVs particularly fun to drive (I've driven a Tesla Model S and an Ionic 5.) I LOVE driving my '08 Civic (stick). I love the handling, the feel and responsiveness of the engine, the precise steering (the Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport tires help, but even with the snows on, the car is a joy). I have 152k on the clock, and hopefully another 25 years or so of driving (I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration and I have exceptionally healthy habits), and I'm going to try to keep the Civic for the duration.My Civic causes a less global warming emissions than some of these humongous battery operated trucks.