GM Workers Hit the Picket Line As UAW Strike Kicks Off

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.

Though the collective agreement with GM workers expired Saturday night, UAW leadership waited until Sunday morning to decide the next step. Ultimately, it was a lack of progress on myriad issues that prompted the union’s general counsel to opt for a strike.

“The autoworkers are calling on the Big 3 automaker to recognize the contributions and sacrifices that the company’s UAW members have made to create a healthy, profitable, industry,” the UAW said in a statement. Ford and Fiat Chrysler bargaining units have decided to extend their deadlines as the GM team, first at bat in this latest round of contract talks, plays hardball.

The issues the UAW want movement on relate to wages, healthcare, job security, profit sharing, and “a defined path to permanent seniority” for temp workers. Not to be intimidated, though surely fearful of losses incurred by darkened production facilities, GM fired back, detailing what it had on the table.

“We presented a strong offer that improves wages, benefits and grows U.S. jobs in substantive ways and it is disappointing that the UAW leadership has chosen to strike at midnight tonight,” the automaker said in a statement. “We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency. Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business.”

GM claims it offered up $7 billion in investment over the four-year contract period, as well as the creation of 5,400 U.S. jobs. Among the tidbits were “solutions for unallocated assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio” (Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown Assembly), investments in eight facilities in four states, new vehicle and propulsion programs, and an “opportunity” for a unionized battery cell production site. Wage or lump sum payments would rise each year, it claimed, while workers would see “improved” profit sharing and the addition of “autism therapy care, chiropractic care, and allergy testing” to their existing health coverage.

According to a source who spoke to Automotive News, GM’s offer would see the Detroit-Hamtramck facility, currently home to the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6 and scheduled for closure in January 2020, give birth to the automaker’s upcoming electric pickup. Lordstown, which went dark earlier this year after building its last Chevrolet Cruze, would become a battery cell manufacturing site.

shared from TTAC