With a week to go, negotiations on a new labor contract, covering more than 46,000 General Motors Co. employees covered by a labor contract the United Auto Workers moving slowly, according to an update by a key UAW negotiator.
Terry Dittes, the UAW vice president in charge of negotiations, said in a letter dated Sept. 5, that major economic issues that remain unresolved with contract expiration of current pact moving closer. He indicated there were major hurdles yet to clear, which suggests a deal may not be done on time.
“It is our intent to reach a collective bargaining agreement with General Motors Company. However, due to the responses by GM to your proposals, the negotiations are progressing slowly,” Dittes wrote in his letter.
“We remain committed to reaching an agreement that will provide the membership with a fair share of the of the enormous profits earned by the company, including improvements related to wages, benefits, pensions, SUB pay, profits sharing, COLA, outsourcing, subcontracting, skilled trades, classifications, vacation utilization, temporary employees and in-progress employees.”
Dittes also said the union was preparing to hold a meeting of the union’s GM Council, which is made up of Local Union Presidents and shop committee chairman on Sunday, Sept. 15, hours after the contract will expire.
“It may be a to vote on a tentative agreement or the company current offer on the table or other necessary action,” Dittes said in his letter to union officers.
GM hasn’t offered an assessment of negotiations.
However, posts on Facebook from GM employees indicate that GM is looking for what it considers significant concessions on health care, including higher union payments for prescription drugs as well as dental and vision coverage that is part of the benefit package for long-term GM employees.
The social media posts also reflect the turmoil inside the union from the ongoing scandal that resulted in a former officials from the union’s GM Department, Michael Grimes, pleading guilty to charges of money laundering and wire fraud connected to the $1.5 million in kickbacks he received from vendors connected to the joint GM-UAW training funds.
Grimes retired in June 2018, just as Dittes took over responsibility for the UAW GM Department.