Why GM UAW Workers are on Strike
General Motors workers went on strike Monday after America’s largest automaker failed to negotiate wages and terms with the United Auto Workers (UAW).
Nearly 50,000 workers to take part in strike, GM’s first major stop since 2007.
«We don’t take this seriously. This is our last resort», – UAW Vice President Terry Dittes told reporters in Detroit.
The parties agreed on the last Saturday as the last deadline for reaching an agreement.
In the 2007 strike, a two-day stop of the conveyor cost the manufacturer $ 300 million. In 1998, there was a more painful strike in Flint, Michigan that lasted 54 days and cost the No. 1 automaker in the United States more than $ 2 billion..
The union’s previous four-year contract with GM expired this weekend, and the two sides negotiated a wide range of issues, including wages, health care, profit sharing, and job security..
In addition, the union is fighting to prevent GM from closing its assembly plants in Ohio and Michigan, which the company says is a necessary response to changes in the market. Earlier Sunday, 850 workers went on strike at five GM sites..
Late Sunday, US President Donald Trump tweeted the UAW and GM «get together and make a deal!». GM spokesman Tony Cervone said the automaker «can not agree» with Trump’s appeal.
On behalf of the unions, Terry Dittes said: «We stand for fair wages, we stand for affordable, high-quality medical care. We are for our share of the profit».
GM claims its wages and benefits are among the best in the industry. The automaker said its UAW proposal during negotiations included more than $ 7 billion in new investments, more jobs, and higher wages and benefits.. «We negotiated in good faith and on time», – noted in GM.
In a statement, the automaker said its proposal to the union includes solutions for assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio that currently lack products. A Reuters source familiar with GM’s proposal said it could include the production of a future electric vehicle in Detroit. It could also include converting the Lordstown, Ohio plant into an electric vehicle battery plant, or a planned sale of the plant to the electric vehicle launch group Workhorse Group Inc. New battery plant could give some UAW workers in Lordstown the opportunity to stay at GM.
It remains unclear if both sides have a plan further negotiations.
The strike comes at a time when the US auto industry is seeing a slowdown in sales and an increase in costs associated with investment in electric vehicles and reduced emissions..