Friday, 22 November, 2019

GM workers strike in the US - how will that impact Canada?

UAW Votes For Nationwide Strike To Begin Before Midnight Sunday Auto Workers Go on Strike After Years of Tirelessly Helping General Motors Reach Record-Level Profits
Anna Jefferson | 17 September, 2019, 07:28

Around 49,000 workers at GM plants across the U.S. have gone on strike after negotiations between the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and the automaker broke down over the weekend.

On Sunday, Dittes said a strike is the union's last resort but is needed because both sides are far apart in negotiating a new contract.

In an unusual move, GM outlined some of the details of its rejected offer to the UAW in a statement that said it was ready to commit to $7 billion in USA investments and 5,400 jobs, as well as "best-in-class" wages and benefits and a signing bonus of $8,000 once the contract was ratified by workers.

General Motors says it has offered pay raises, profit sharing and good health benefits, along with billions of dollars in investments in manufacturing facilities that would bring more jobs.

Negotiators for General Motors Co and the United Auto Workers are scheduled to restart bargaining Monday to resolve a strike that shut down the automaker's highly profitable US operations.

In 2015, the union and automakers struck a last-minute deal for a new four-year contract, which did expire at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.

Contract talks aimed at ending a strike by 49,000 auto workers against General Motors have extended into late Monday afternoon. GM pays $63 per hour in wages and benefits compared with $50 at the foreign-owned factories.

"It is disappointing that the UAW leadership has chosen to strike at midnight tonight".

The automaker gets its engines, both four- and six-cylinder models, from a GM plant in Flint Michigan that's ground to a halt due to the strike. "We are standing up for our share of the profits".

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It also promised a "solution" for two of the four plants now slated for closure: one in Detroit and another in Lordstown, Ohio. Local union leaders met in Detroit 'and opted to strike at midnight on Sunday, ' the UAW said on its Twitter account.

Contract negotiations revolve around four themes: higher wages, health care access, the idling of four USA plants and temporary workers wanting to become permanent.

GM offered no protection against out-sourcing jobs in the future, Kage said.

It's still possible that bargainers could return to the table and hammer out an agreement, but union spokesman Brian Rothenberg said at a news conference that it would be unlikely.

The UAW is fighting over jobs and benefits, including better health care and the length of time it takes for shorter-tenured members to get top-scale pay. GM is expected to lose over a $1 million every hour the strike continues and it will cost the UAW about $12.5 million a week.

Adding another wrinkle, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on Sunday announced it will not transport GM vehicles while the UAW remains on strike, stranding some products at factory lots.

GM also offered to build a new all-electric pickup truck at a factory in Detroit that is slated to close next year, according to the person, who wasn't authorized to disclose details of the negotiations.

Members of United Auto Workers Local 31 didn't want to talk about their individual experiences, but instead channeled their voices through union leadership.

It's the first national strike by the union since a two-day walkout in 2007 that had little impact on the company. GM now has too much USA factory capacity. Automakers don't want higher fixed costs.

Unions have faced serious setbacks in recent decades, including a Supreme Court decision that crippled their fundraising ability, and "Right to Work" laws blocking mandatory membership. Employees of large firms nationwide pay about 34%, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Automakers would like to cut costs.

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