GM labour talks off the rails in Detroit

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS -

DETROIT — Talks for a new four-year la­bor con­tract be­tween Gen­eral Mo­tors Co and its strik­ing work­ers cooled af­ter the United Auto Work­ers re­jected the largest U.S. au­tomaker’s lat­est of­fer on Sun­day.

GM made an of­fer to the union that ba­si­cally re­peated one the UAW had pre­vi­ously re­jected, Terry Dittes, the UAW vice pres­i­dent in charge of the GM depart­ment, said in a let­ter to mem­bers. The union pro­vided a copy of the let­ter to Reuters.

“These ne­go­ti­a­tions have taken a turn for the worse,” he said.

“We, in this union, could not be more dis­ap­pointed with Gen­eral Mo­tors,” Dittes said. “The com­pany has shown an un­will­ing­ness to fairly com­pen­sate ... the UAW.”

GM of­fi­cials could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment.

Dittes said the UAW made an of­fer on Satur­day to GM that cov­ered wages, sign­ing bonuses, job se­cu­rity, profit shar­ing and other is­sues. He said GM re­sponded on Sun­day morn­ing with its coun­terof­fer, which “did noth­ing to ad­vance a whole host of is­sues.”

The GM strike be­gan on Sept. 16 with its 48,000 UAW mem­bers seek­ing higher pay, greater job se­cu­rity, a big­ger share of the au­tomaker’s profit and pro­tec­tion of health­care ben­e­fits. The sides have been meet­ing daily.

One key is­sue is around assem­bly of fu­ture ve­hi­cles. The UAW wants GM to make com­mit­ments on fu­ture prod­ucts it would build in var­i­ous plants be­yond what has cur­rently been of­fered, said a per­son fa­mil­iar with the talks who asked not to be iden­ti­fied.

GM of­fi­cials pre­vi­ously said the Detroit com­pany’s la­bor rates are the high­est in the in­dus­try and it needs the abil­ity to build some ve­hi­cles in other mar­kets to keep costs down.

Just be­fore the strike be­gan, GM re­vealed that its of­fer to the UAW in­cluded plans to in­vest more than $7 bil­lion in its U.S. plants over the life of the deal.

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