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Canadian Auto Workers OK Strike at Detroit’s Big Three

Union demanding new investments but automakers want cost cuts.

by on Aug.29, 2016

GM has cut thousands of jobs in Canada, most recently by moving Camaro production to Michigan.

Union workers in Canada have overwhelmingly authorized union leaders to call a strike next month as contract talks with Detroit’s Big Three automakers race towards their deadline.

Negotiations have turned contentious in recent weeks as the two sides struggle to find common ground amidst conflicting demands. Unifor, the union representing thousands of Canadian auto line workers, wants General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler to commit to new investments that would keep the country’s auto plants open. But the Detroit makers are, in turn, demanding cost cuts they claim are necessary to remain competitive.

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Workers voted almost unanimously to approve strikes, and “With this clear mandate our members have demonstrated they are in full support of their bargaining committees and our direction in this set of negotiations,” said Unifor President Jerry Dias.


GM Invests $1.4 Billion in Texas Plant

Company riding wave of full-size truck, SUV sales with new outlays.

by on Jul.14, 2015

GM is investing in a $1.2 billion expansion of its Arlington, Texas, plant to keep up with demand for large SUVs.

Just a day after meeting with UAW leaders to shake hands and swap expressions of goodwill, General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra gets to enhance the good mood by announcing the company’s plans to invest $1.4 billion in its Arlington, Texas, plant.

The investment is part of a $5.4 billion plan announced in April to upgrade GM plants across North America. This bundle of cash is the largest yet, surpassing the $1.2 billion at its Fort Wayne, Indiana, plant and the $1 billion tabbed for the company’s Tech Center in Warren, Michigan.

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Between the investments in Indiana and now Texas totaling $2.6 billion, it’s clear that GM expects to ride the full-size truck and SUV wave as long as possible. (more…)

UAW Ratifies GM Contract by 2-1 Margin

Talks pick up pace at Ford, Chrysler.

by on Sep.28, 2011

UAW President Bob King confirmed the GM contract had been ratified by a 2-1 margin.

The United Auto Workers Union’s rank-and-file has approved a new four-year contract with General Motors by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

The new four-year contract is effective immediately and also is expected to lead to the creation of 6,500 new jobs over the next couple of years at GM plants in the U.S. – perhaps more as it may prompt GM to bring work back to the U.S. from Mexico and Canada.

The final vote tally was 65% in favor of the agreement among production workers, and 63% in favor among skilled trades workers. Retirees, many of whom were angered by contract lack of pension improvements, were not eligible to vote.

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The vote in favor of the contract while more than enough to ensure passage was actually  low by historical standards, indicating a sizeable number of union members were dissatisfied with the pact.  And it suggests the union could face rugged ratification votes after it settles contracts with Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC


GM-UAW Find Common Ground as Talks Begin

"We are playing to win"...together.

by on Jul.28, 2011

GM CEO Dan Akerson and UAW President Bob King shake hands at the opening of contract talks.

General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union opened contract negotiations with a determined show of unity emphasizing what they had in common rather than their divisions.

The ceremonial handshaking at GM came two days after the UAW opened the latest round of contract talks at Chrysler – with union and management negotiators significantly showing up wearing the same maroon pullovers.

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“We want the new GM to succeed and when it does, everyone will benefit,” said Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “We are playing to win, and we’re counting on our work force — hourly and salaried — to take on the challenges together and forge new partnerships as a competitive advantage, ”


Lots on the Line as GM Set to Begin Contract Talks with UAW

Maker wants more givebacks, workers want concessions restored. Is a battle brewing?

by on Jul.22, 2011

UAW Pres. Bob King doesn't think GM's 2-tier pay structure offers new employees a living wage.

The United Auto Workers Union is set to begin contract negotiations with General Motors Corp. Chrysler Group and Ford Motor in the coming days and, as always, the negotiations with the GM will once again serve as the main event .

After all, Ford hasn’t had a serious labor disruption since Gerald Ford occupied the White House. Even if the talks at Ford turn contentious — and they might — the company still has the option of bringing in executive chairman Bill Ford to smooth over any rough edges. Bill Ford is widely respected inside and has a well-founded reputation for being more than fair with union members.

At Chrysler union leaders and the rank-and-file have been thoroughly charmed by Sergio Marchionne, who has gone out of his way in the past two years to court the UAW. The union leadership at Chrysler has reciprocated, giving Marchionne wide latitude even though, up until this week, they were the technical owners of the company.

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But at GM, the long legacy of bitter fights and mistrust between labor and management still overshadows the negotiations. Both union leaders and GM’s management have made an effort to move on and give the company the equivalent of a post-bankruptcy fresh start.  Nonetheless, labor relations at GM are very much a work in progress.

And that could bring some serious problems as the talks head to a September deadline — even though the terms of GM’s 2009 government bailout bar both a worker strike and management lockout.