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.
General Motors seems ready to wait out any resistance to its contract offer by UAW-represented workers, though a prolonged strike could still hurt the company. With the strike by GM workers in the United States now entering its second week, the automaker’s vehicle inventory is healthy enough to weather days and weeks of picketing, but the same cannot be of the personal finances of many striking workers.
At this point, no one’s predicting a quick resolution.
The Price of Progress: GM and UAW Inch Closer to a Deal As Strike Disrupts Operations Across North America
The first strike action by unionized General Motors workers since before the recession has entered its fifth day, with bargaining teams from both sides claiming progress on a number of issues. That said, reaching a tentative deal reached before the weekend is a long shot.
With American GM plants free of workers, the shutdown of the automaker’s manufacturing landscape has sent shock waves across the border and into Canada, where many workers are now “enjoying” a unexpected late-summer vacation.
The United Auto Workers and General Motors are seeking to repair their fractured relationship, sitting down for talks as the union’s strike against its first bargaining partner enters its third day. Workers walked off the job at the automaker’s numerous U.S. plants at midnight Sunday, with the UAW complaining that a last-minute offer should have been put on the table far earlier.
As reported before, health coverage played a big role in the failure to secure a contract agreement before the midnight deadline. GM ultimately retracted the offer, but it was too late to hammer something out. As talks continue in the background, both sides are wrestling for control of the public’s sympathies.
The United Auto Workers claims General Motors waited almost literally till the eleventh hour to toss out a halfway decent offer, but by that time it was too late to bang out an agreement before an 11:59 p.m. Sunday strike deadline.
As talks get underway after GM auto workers hit the streets last night, the level of disagreement between the two sides remains in dispute. What is clear is that GM faces losses of 50 to 90 million dollars a day if the strike continues.
The battle line between General Motors and its unionized American workers takes the form of a picket stretching in front of numerous domestic plants and facilities, after the UAW launched its first strike against the company since 2007.
Strike action commenced a minute before midnight on Sunday, with roughly 49,000 workers walking off the job. In response, GM detailed exactly what it offered the union before contract talks broke down.
Hours after a four-year contract between the United Automobile Workers and General Motors expired without an extension, the union voted to kick off a nationwide strike against the automaker at 11:59 pm Sunday. The move would leave plants darkened and upwards of 49,000 auto workers on the picket line.
In a letter to members, UAW leadership said that while “some progress” has been made in its negotiations with GM, numerous outstanding issues remain — among them, wages, health benefits, temporary employees, job security, and profit sharing.
Given a number of looming or already completed plant closures announced by GM last fall, the union picked the automaker as its first bargaining target. UAW bargaining units for Ford and Fiat Chrysler opted to extend their deadlines.
Organized labor is helping keep the high-end cigar industry profitable, federal investigators implied Thursday. Following a years-long investigation into widespread corruption among the union’s upper ranks, agents arrested UAW Region 5 Director Vance Pearson yesterday, hitting him with charges of embezzlement, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy.
Pearson, 58, took over his position from current UAW president Gary Jones last year. Prior to that, he served as Jones’ right-hand man in the Missouri post. The charges laid against Pearson cite numerous unnamed officials who helped organize the embezzlement, with three sources telling The Detroit News that one of those figures is the big man himself.
Oh, and Detroit Three contracts expire Saturday night.
While Hyundai seems to have miraculously dodged labor strikes in South Korea this year, General Motors does not appear to possess the same good fortune. However, it would be difficult to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Lady Luck.
GM’s been considering pulling out of the region over financial reasons for quite some time. In 2018, the automaker shuttered one of its four South Korean facilities — citing rising labor costs as the primary culprit. It’s also been losing money in the region for years. Hoping the company could be swayed from abandoning Korea like it did with Europe, the government floated General Motors 850 billion won ($712.85 million) in industrial aid.
The UAW news is pouring in on two fronts these days. For one, there’s the looming bargaining talks between the United Autoworkers Union and Detroit Three automakers, with General Motors leading the way. Then there’s the ongoing federal investigation into bribery and kickbacks at the highest levels of the UAW.
Just as GM is the initial focus of the contract negotiations, the union department tasked with dealing with the automaker is also the main focus of the FBI probe. On Wednesday, the most recently indicted former UAW official pleaded guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. For his crimes, Mike Grimes, a former bargaining team member and administrative assistant to UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada who left the union in 2018, will have to forfeit $1.5 million in bribes.
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.
After eight consecutive years of striking, South Korean Hyundai employees decided to take a season off. Preliminary reports are indicating that the workers’ union has reached a tentative wage agreement with the automaker, resolving any need to picket.
Top-notch negotiating skills likely played a role, but union members also noted that it was best not to temp fate. According to Reuters, the group said it had considered “the uncertain political and economic situation” before agreeing to terms. That’s a reference to the degrading political situation between South Korea and Japan, as well as the ongoing Sino-American trade war.
The long-running federal probe into dirty dealings between domestic automakers and the United Auto Workers cranked up a few notches on Wednesday, with federal agents reportedly raiding the home of UAW President Gary Jones and ex-UAW boss Dennis Williams.
Sources told The Detroit News that raids were carried out in three states as investigators attempt to uncover just how high in the organization the corruption went. The move comes less than three weeks before UAW-Detroit Three contracts expire.
The United Automobile Workers are tallying strike votes as union leadership decides which contract terms are worth fighting over. While this is par for the course in any contract negotiation with General Motors, Ford, or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, this year’s talks have been mired in scandal and economic uncertainty.
Despite the continued strength of the U.S. economy, the automotive industry has been busily preparing itself for a global recession — encouraging quite a bit of restructuring over the past year. Meanwhile, the UAW finds itself the subject of a federal corruption probe that has severely undermined its credibility. We know that at least one automaker, Fiat Chrysler, was actively bribing union officials. Following the recent conviction of the former head of the union’s FCA Department, Norwood Jewell, General Motors has also been implicated.
There are so many accused and convicted players in the United Auto Workers corruption scandal, it would make for confusing viewing were it made into a film. Already, federal prosecutors have fingered or convicted numerous high-ranking UAW officials tied to the Fiat Chrysler file. Now, investigators are moving on to General Motors.
Apparently, not many stones needed turning before investigators uncovered rot underneath.
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