Monday, 21 October, 2019

GM explains latest offer to striking UAW workers

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Russell Knight | 11 October, 2019, 21:47

General Motors employees received a letter Friday morning from company leaders that addresses the United Auto Workers union's ongoing strike.

The automaker said Friday morning that on October 7 it presented an updated offer to the UAW, which would increase compensation and preserve health care benefits without raising out-of-pocket expenses.

The letter, by GM executive Gerald Johnson, included previously undisclosed details of GM's latest offer to the union, including plans to increase its investment in United States facilities to about $9 billion, up from $7 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The strike commenced after talks between GM and the UAW to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement were making little progress.

The brokerage's calculation assumed the strike, now in its 26th day, will last until October 21. Barra was reportedly hoping to move talks along as GM had not gotten a formal response from the union on a proposal in sent to them on Monday.

"We have advised the Union that it's critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers", GM Executive Vice President Gerald Johnson wrote in a letter to employees.

GM made a comprehensive offer October 7 to the UAW and hasn't received a response in the days since, despite CEO Mary Barra joining a meeting with union leaders October 9.

Johnson acknowledged the strike has been hard on workers, their families as well as the communities where the company is located. The importance of the "future of work" committee underlines what we have been pointing out since the beginning of this strike: "it is more about the future than about the cash".

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The two sides held "top table" discussions Friday, in which chief negotiators from both sides meet on company-wide issues.

"Nobody should take for granted that the union membership will ratify a tentative agreement", said economist Patric Anderson.

Sandefur's letter was not released publicly, but CNN obtained a copy of the letter, along with one that Dittes sent to him.

After little headway followed their proposal to UAW brass October 7, Barra invited Dittes and UAW President Gary Jones to meet at the automaker's Detroit headquarters, where bargaining has been taking place.

The maker of Cadillac and Chevrolet cars, meanwhile, has lost about $1.5 billion since the work stoppage, according to a new analysis by Credit Suisse.

Barra's goal was to get the talks moving again, sources briefed on the matter said.

Moody's said in a Friday report that GM must maintain its flexibility under any new deal to build electric and self-driving vehicles without its fixed costs rising further.

UAW workers are concerned that as GM shifts to more electric vehicles it will require fewer workers, and that workers in battery production plants may earn less than those at existing transmission plants.

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