US GM Workers Strike, Talks Set to Resume Today
The dispute has put nearly 50,000 workers on the picket lines.
Negotiations between the United Auto Workers and General Motors, the first in the latest contract talks between the UAW and the Detroit Three automakers, has put GM’s hourly workers on the picket line.
The dispute has put nearly 50,000 workers on the picket lines in what is the first national strike against the automaker since 2007.
The initial contract offer from GM called for workers to pay for 15 percent of their health care costs, Automotive News reports. That’s far more than the three to four percent they’re reported to pay currently, but about half the national average. The union was not happy with the proposal.
“We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most. Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our Members, their families and the communities where we work and live,” said UAW Vice President Terry Dittes in a statement.
The negotiations started back in July, though the workers’ contract didn’t run out until this past Saturday at midnight. Workers were told to continue working under the terms of the existing 2015 deal, but when the UAW felt the two sides were too far apart, the strike action commenced.
“While we are fighting for better wages, affordable quality health care, and job security, GM refuses to put hard-working Americans ahead of their record profits of $35 billion in North America over the last three years. We are united in our efforts to get an agreement our members and their families deserve,” said Dittes.
The vote by UAW members for strike authorization happened September 1st. Members working for GM voted 96.4 percent in favour of a strike. FCA members voted 96 percent in favour, and Ford was at 95.98 percent. After the vote, UAW President Gary Jones said that “no one goes into collective bargaining taking a strike lightly. But it is a key tool in the tool belt as our bargaining team sits across from the company. Ultimately, the company holds that destiny in their hands as they bargain. Clearly the UAW stood up for them in a very dark time, now that they are profitable it is time for them to stand up for all of us.”
GM’s statement said that they were offering more than $7 billion in investments and 5,400 more jobs during the contract. That included “solutions for unallocated assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio,” investments in eight facilities, the opportunity for a union-represented battery cell site, as well as wage increases.
The two sides are set to resume negotiations this morning.