'Some progress made' as UAW-GM negotiations continue amid strike

20 Septembre, 2019, 04:11 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • The General Motors car assembly plant in Oshawa Ont. is shown on Nov. 26 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Eduardo Lima

A General Motors offer to invest $7 billion in US facilities includes $2 billion from joint ventures and suppliers for new plants that would pay workers less than the top union wage, a person briefed on the matter said. The strike is in its fourth day, with negotiations continuing between GM and UAW officials for a possible solution.

© Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press Workers leave Flint Assembly plant early Monday, September 16, 2019 while taking part in a national strike against General Motors after stalled contract negotiations with General Motors.

And, while the $7 billion would be invested in facilities with UAW representation, some would be joint ventures with contracts separate from the union's contract with GM. The UAW membership would likely oppose such terms because, over time as technology changes, those lower-paying joint ventures jobs could replace other, higher-paying, union jobs, one labor source said. That's in reference to GM's announcement last fall that it would idle two transmission plants, one in Warren and one in Baltimore; along with Lordstown Assembly in OH and Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly. But the person briefed on the talks said only about 2,700 new jobs will be added. The rest are jobs that would be retained because of the investments.

The person said union negotiators were disappointed after the company briefed them on details Wednesday. Further details were not available.

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GM declined to comment about the details of the proposed investment and jobs.

Releasing the offer just before the strike started at midnight Monday was created to turn up the heat on union bargainers, who until then had said the company's response to union proposals had been slow. In addition, GM will pay for an electric pickup truck that would go into the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which the company also wants to close. CEO Mary Barra has predicted an "all-electric future" for GM, meaning jobs making gas-powered cars could be in jeopardy.

A UAW vice president told union members Thursday that "some progress has been made" in contract talks with General Motors even though "there are still many of our membership issues that remain unresolved".

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