General Motors strike negotiations take 'turn for the worse' - union

Darnell Taylor
October 8, 2019

Contract talks aimed at ending a 22-day strike by the United Auto Workers against General Motors continued Monday after United Auto Workers union bargainers rejected a company offer on Sunday.

Terry Dittes, UAW vice president for the GM Department, in a letter to union members on Sunday morning, said at 5:35 p.m. Saturday the UAW prepared an extensive package proposal and presented it to GM, reports the Detroit Free Press.

On Saturday evening, the union submitted an "extensive proposal package" that "was an effort to move this set of negotiations to the next step", Dittes said in a letter to Scott Sandefur, vice president of labour relations at GM. He says GM responded Sunday by reverting back to an offer that had been rejected and made few changes.

Dittes said that after making progress on key issues "a couple days ago, the company has shown an unwillingness to fairly compensate the great workforce of the UAW".

A spokesperson for GM told the Wall Street Journal that the firm is continuing "to negotiate in good faith with very good proposals that benefit employees today and build a stronger future for all of us". "And if we go into a fourth week, it's gonna get worse", says Anderson. The sides have been meeting daily.

Almost 700 workers were handed temporary layoff notices the same day at the GM propulsion plant in St. Catharines, Ont.

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GM said in a statement that it was committed to negotiating "around the clock" to reach a deal.

GM officials previously said the Detroit company's labor rates are the highest in the industry and it needs the ability to build some vehicles in other markets to keep costs down.

Just before the strike began, GM revealed that its offer to the UAW included plans to invest more than $7 billion United States in its USA plants over the life of the deal. Sources said at the time that those plans included a battery plant in OH and building an electric truck in Detroit.

The strike has shut down GM production in the United States, impacting its operations in Canada and Mexico where thousands of workers have been temporarily laid off.

One of the major remaining issues includes the UAW's desire to reduce the time it takes newer hires to earn the top wage scale of about $31 an hour from the current eight-year period, said the source, who asked not to be identified because the talks are ongoing.

Analysts estimate the strike has cost GM over $1 billion dollars.

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