Strike pos­si­ble at GM af­ter union dead­line

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION -

The United Auto Work­ers union set a Sun­day-night dead­line for Gen­eral Mo­tors to agree to a new four-year con­tract, set­ting up a pos­si­ble strike of GM’s U.S. op­er­a­tions.

The cur­rent con­tract will ex­pire at 11:59 p.m. Sun­day. The union could tell its 52,700 GM mem­bers to walk off their jobs at that time. How­ever, if the union’s ne­go­tia­tors think that progress is be­ing made to­ward an agree­ment, the dead­line can be post­poned.

GM and the union have been in talks since July and have for the past sev­eral days in­ten­si­fied ne­go­ti­a­tions to reach a deal. The UAW and Fiat Chrysler have a new con­tract that goes into ef­fect on Mon­day, while Ford has yet to en­ter in­ten­si­fied talks with the union.

In a state­ment, GM re­sponded, “We are work­ing with them to ad­dress the is­sues and re­main com­mit­ted to ob­tain­ing an agree­ment that is good for em­ploy­ees and the busi­ness.”

GM work­ers are pre­pared to strike at the Fort Wayne, Ind., plant that makes prof­itable GM pickup trucks, said Brian Hart­man, pres­i­dent of the UAW lo­cal there.

Hart­man said work­ers at the Fort Wayne plant were pleased that the Fiat Chrysler deal rat­i­fied last week gave a clear path for work­ers hired af­ter 2007 to reach top pay. But, he said, they want it to take four years, not eight, from hir­ing to reach top pay, which will be about $30 per hour by the end of the four-year Fiat Chrysler con­tract.

“GM be­ing in a dif­fer­ent (more prof­itable) po­si­tion than Chrysler, our mem­bers are look­ing for a big­ger pie, not a big­ger piece of the pie,” Hart­man said, re­fer­ring to words of Wal­ter Reuther, UAW pres­i­dent from 1946 to 1970.

It was only min­utes be­fore a strike dead­line on Oct. 7 that Fiat Chrysler and the UAW reached agree­ment, avert­ing the first strike on a Detroit au­tomaker since 2007.

In sev­eral con­ces­sion­ary con­tracts with the UAW since 2007, GM has low­ered its av­er­age la­bor costs to about $55 per hour from about $75. GM ex­ec­u­tives have said the com­pany must keep la­bor costs at a point where they do not threaten GM’s dou­ble-digit North Amer­i­can profit mar­gins achieved this year.

The UAW has said of­ten “this is our time” to re­ceive re­mu­ner­a­tion from con­ces­sions in 2007 and 2009 that helped GM to sur­vive a bank­ruptcy in a gov­ern­ment-spon­sored bailout.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.