Perhaps tired of waiting on the UAW to vet its latest proposal, General Motors released the details of its offer directly to its striking workers, hoping $9 billion in new investments might sway the opinions of its picket line-walking employees.
Of the new total, $7.7 billion would be invested directly in GM plants, including building an electric truck at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, with the remaining $1.3 billion to be used for joint ventures, including a potential battery plant near the idled Lordstown, Ohio plant.
The company said the offer also includes increased compensation through wages and one-time payments, preserving industry-leading healthcare benefits without increasing workers’ costs, enhanced profit sharing with unlimited upside and a higher ratification bonus than the $8,000 previously offered.
“The strike has been hard on you, your families, our communities, the company, our suppliers and dealers,” GM’s letter read, saying the latest offer increased compensation and promised a path to full-time jobs for temporary workers, Reuters reported.
“We have advised the union that it’s critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers. … Our offer builds on the winning formula we have all benefited from over the past several years.”
UAW officials were quick to refute some of the points of GM’s letter, and top negotiator Terry Dittes suggested in a video for members that the company was playing games.
“I want to assure you despite that letter, your bargaining team has been here around the clock, working to get you the contract you deserve,” he said. “Let me be clear: the company’s strategy of releasing half-truths does nothing to reach a final settlement.”
GM countered that its attempts at communicating to its workers were designed “to inform — not incite” and it was being “straightforward” and being “factual.”
The two sides have been slogging their way through negotiations on a new four-year contract for four weeks now and progress has been limited. In fact, during that time, Ford and its UAW negotiators have nearly completed their deal and Fiat Chrysler and the UAW aren’t far behind.
GM CEO Mary Barra actually joined the negotiations earlier this week along with embattled UAW President Gary Jones and they did manage to put a little spark into the talks, but that quickly dissipated after the UAW said it would not proceed further with talks until its teams had a chance to review and make recommendations on five areas of GM’s latest offer.
The move inspired a terse letter from GM’s top negotiator Scott Sandefur chastising Dittes for the move, saying the sides should be working around the clock to secure a new deal and this approach was hurting the workers.
Analysts have estimated that GM will lose between $1.5 billion and $2 billion due to the strike, and that it loses at least $50 million each day it goes on.