UAW letter to GM indicates that strike won't end quickly

Daniel Fowler
October 11, 2019

The UAW on Friday morning called for top union and company representatives to gather for an 11 AM "main table" meeting at Detroit Renaissance Center - in part to object to recent negotiating tactics by the Big Three automaker, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Then, Vice President and Director of the UAW General Motors Department Terry Dittes said, "We have made it clear that there is no job security for us when GM products are made in other countries for the objective of selling them here in the U.S.".

The strike could cost the automaker about $1.5 billion, brokerage Credit Suisse said on Friday, throwing the US automaker's cost reduction plans off the track and forcing key suppliers to cut their 2019 outlook. "For temporary workers, our offer also would create a clear path to permanent employment and include a ratification bonus", Johnson's letter says.

"During this meeting, (Barra) requested all committees work to resolve their open issues simultaneously so the company could receive a comprehensive proposal from the union", a letter to GM from UAW Vice President and Director of UAW General Motors Department Terry Dittes says.

"Our offer commits to thousands of new jobs right here in the US and billions of dollars in new investments in our communities". I am writing to you today so you know where things stand.

"We have advised the Union that it's critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers".

GM urged the UAW to agree to around-the-clock negotiations to try reach a deal, while the union insisted on dealing with five specific issues first before it responded to a broader proposal from the company. It's an indication that there won't be a quick end to the almost monthlong strike by 49,000 workers that has halted production at all of GM's USA factories.

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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.

Johnson acknowledged the strike has been hard on workers, their families as well as the communities where the company is located. GM says it has found other jobs for 2,300 of the 3,000 workers who worked in those plants, but many had to relocate. That's why before the contract deadline, we made an offer that we felt was strong.

Details of the Wednesday meeting between Barra and top union bargainers were disclosed in the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press. Union workers are angry about production of trucks and sport-utility vehicles in Mexico.

Over 48,000 UAW members have been on strike since September 16th.

"The cornerstone of GM's long-term strategy is to be the leader in developing an economically viable operating model that enables investments in battery electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles to be profitable and generate appropriate returns".

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