Nearly 50000 UAW Employees Strike Against General Motors

United Auto Workers members picket outside the General Motors Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant in Hamtramck Mich. Monday Sept. 16 2019

UAW Votes For Nationwide Strike To Begin Before Midnight Sunday

General Motors said its offer to United Auto Workers "builds a stronger future for all", but the roughly 50,000 members on strike want more after walking out on Sunday night.

Unifor president Jerry Dias, whose union represents thousands of Canadian GM workers, said workers in GM's three Canadian manufacturing plants could be served temporary layoff notices in the coming days if the strike in the not resolved. GM did have a 54-day strike at a key plant in Flint, Michigan, in 1998 that effectively shut down most of its assembly plants.

The UAW confirmed Monday that talks had resumed this morning.

A CNBC report says at the time, it cost the automaker $300 million a day. Workers at GM are reading tea leaves and official press releases, just like the media, and that's no way to win a massive strike. The closures, especially of the OH plant, have become issues in the 2020 presidential campaign. Trump and Democrats see the votes of UAW members in the Midwest as critical to victory. On Sunday, he sent a tweet calling for the carmaker and union to "make a deal". GM spokesman Tony Cervone said the automaker "couldn't agree more" with Trump's call. So when the assembly stops, the revenue slows. The state is pivotal to Trump's re-election. GM's offer "still doesn't address some of the union's demands". The union's top negotiator said in a letter to the company that the strike could have been averted had the company made its latest offer sooner.

On the picket line Monday at GM's transmission plant in Toledo, Ohio, workers who said they have been with the company for more than 30 years were concerned for younger colleagues who are making less money under GM's two-tier wage scale and have fewer benefits. The shares (GM) fell as much as 3.2% in midday trading on Monday.

In a statement Sunday, GM outlined its offer to the union, saying the package included solutions for the MI and OH assembly plants now lacking products, $7 billion in USA investment and a signing bonus of $8,000 per worker.

"We told UAW GM members that we would stand up for them and their future", Jones said in the statement.

The automaker also offered to open an electric vehicle battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where it has a huge factory that has already stopped making cars and will be closed. GM would not give a precise number.

GM shares were down almost 3% Monday.

"We have a strike fund that we are going to go into because of this".

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which transports some GM vehicles to dealerships, said it would honor the UAW's GM picket lines.

Before the talks broke off, GM offered new products to replace work at two of four US factories that it intends to close. Automakers don't want higher fixed costs.

Democratic presidential candidates weighed in to back the union, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden and Representative Tim Ryan. GM and Chrysler ended up in bankruptcy, kept alive by a federal government bailout.

Some of those concessions are now matters of disagreement.

In the letter released by the union Monday, Dittes wrote that there are many important items left in the talks including wage increases, pay for new hires, job security, profit sharing and treatment of temporary workers.

GM's sprawling North American footprint means a strike in the US could reverberate through to its manufacturing facilities in Ontario.

Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research (CAR), said the strike at GM's US facilities will also shut its plants in Canada and Mexico as the automaker's supply chain is so integrated. Among the company's most profitable vehicles, they include the Escalade, the GMC Yukon and the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. The automaker now has about one-tenth the number of union-represented USA employees.

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