Despite meeting regularly since the strike began, negotiators from the United Auto Workers and General Motors appear stuck on key issues ranging from health care to pay for temporary workers and investments in new technology.
The key roadblock to ending the strike, which began early Monday, closing down all GM’s factories and warehouses and curtailing the company’s operation in Canada as well, is getting GM to up its ante.
Some progress was reported as GM put an offer on the table just prior to the strike that included what the company described as $7 billion in new investment and commitments to put a new battery plant in northeast Ohio near the unallocated assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The UAW was cool to the offer even though the union’s eager to nail down more jobs linked to electric vehicles.
The company also offered an $8,000 signing bonus for eligible workers covered by the contract.
“The GM offer is the floor not the ceiling,” noted one UAW official familiar with the negotiations.
The shape of the economic package, including raises throughout the contract period, the status of temporary workers and the length of the grow-in period to the contract’s top wage for full-time employees remain unresolved. Each of the elements are expensive for GM.
“There are many of members issues unresolved,” said Terry Dittes, the UAW’s top bargainer, who indicated he expected the negotiations and the strike to continue through the weekend and into next week.
Social media posts from UAW members also clearly indicate that GM workers expect to be rewarded this time around the past sacrifices that saved the company after it slid into bankruptcy and rebuilt the company’s business after the recession.
“Contrary to what the media and GM is telling you I am not on strike for personal greed. And we are not on strike for just ourselves. We are on strike for all American(s). We are on Strike against corporate greed. We are on Strike to stop the cycle of ALL American Workers working harder and longer hours for less. We are on Strike for our Health care as our children deserve that right just as much as theirs,” wrote one Facebook poster.
The commentary on social media also is emphatic that the union must not accept any terms that could be cons
In addition, there have been several confrontations at various GM plants around the country between union pickets and non-union truck drivers looking to off-load their cargo at GM plants.
The union said the police are investigating a number of incidents at GM installations in Flint, while union members were arrested in confrontation in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The incidents add to the tensions in the already difficult tensions.
Meanwhile, a top union officer, Vance Pearson, is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate in the U.S. District Court in Detroit for an arraignment on charges of embezzlement and conspiracy. Vance allegedly stole dues money from various union funds, including the UAW strike fund, which is now being tapped to pay strikers $250 per week in strike pay.