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Terry Dittes, vice president of the GM Department for the UAW, said its time for GM to build more vehicles in the U.S.

The leader of the United Auto Workers responsible for negotiations with General Motors took aim at the automaker’s Mexican production during a speech at the UAW Special Convention on Collective Bargaining in Detroit.

Terry Dittes, UAW vice president in charge of union’s GM Department, said in a report to the 900 delegates that roughly one third of the vehicles GM sells in the U.S. now come from Mexico and that will be a major issue in the UAW’s upcoming contract talks with the automakers.

“Don’t kid yourself there are more plants that may be in jeopardy as time goes on,” Dittes warned the delegates. “This is not a good will speech.

“General Motors just announced that they made $10.8 billion in the United States. General Motors sells more vehicles in the United States than Ford or FCA. General Motors currently has 17.5% market share, higher than Ford and FCA,” Dittes said.

(UAW raising strike pay ahead of Big Three negotiations. Click Here for the story.)

“General Motors’ UAW employment is about 48,000 members. Over 7,000 of them are in skilled trades and more than 4,000 are temporary employees. General Motors makes the most profits. They sell the most the most cars, trucks and crossovers. They’ve been at the top of heap for many years.

The converse is that Ford and Fiat Chrysler have fewer UAW members, Dittes noted. General Motors, which sell the most cars in the U.S. does not build the most cars in the U.S.; that honor belongs to the Ford Motor Co. GM does in fact build one third of its vehicles in Mexico for the sole purpose of sending them to the United States for sale, Dittes pointed out.

(Click Here for details about UAW suing General Motors over plant closures.)

“Brothers and sisters you can see what we’re up against when we open negotiations when this coming but I can tell you we’re ready for the fights and I know you’re ready for the fight and I know our membership is ready for the fight,” Dittes told the delegates. “It’s time for us to stand. It’s time for us to take what belongs to us and stand up for what we have,” he said.

Dittes added the UAW faces a whole new set of issues during bargaining such as the use of temporaries and two-tier wages and erosion of skilled trades not to mention product as well as GM’s decision to shut plants In Lordstown, Ohio, Baltimore as well as in Detroit and Warren, Michigan, staffed by UAW members.

(To see more about the UAW’s efforts to reverse GM’s decision to close plants, Click Here.)

“We’re not quitting on that,” he said. “It’s time to stand up.”

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