Auto work­ers union sets stage for pos­si­ble strike against GM

The Korea Times - - WORLD BUSINESS -

DETROIT (AP) — A top United Auto Work­ers of­fi­cial said the union and Gen­eral Mo­tors are far apart on ma­jor is­sues, in­creas­ing the like­li­hood of a strike as early as Sun­day night.

The union, in let­ters to mem­bers and GM Satur­day, said it will let its four-year con­tract with the com­pany ex­pire just be­fore mid­night. But work­ers are to re­port to their jobs if they’re sched­uled to work on Sun­day.

Just what the union will do af­ter that will be de­cided in meet­ings sched­uled for Sun­day morn­ing in Detroit.

The let­ters are de­signed to turn up the pres­sure on GM ne­go­tia­tors as the con­tract ex­pi­ra­tion dead­line ap­proaches at 11:59 p.m. Satur­day.

“While we are fight­ing for bet­ter wages, af­ford­able qual­ity health care, and job se­cu­rity, GM refuses to put hard work­ing Amer­i­cans ahead of their record prof­its,” union Vice Pres­i­dent Terry Dittes said in a state­ment Satur­day night.

Kristin Dz­iczek, vice pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for Au­to­mo­tive Re­search, an in­dus­try think tank, said the union could strike GM af­ter the con­tract ex­pires. “If they’re not ex­tend­ing the agree­ment, then that would leave them open to strike,” she said.

But GM, in a state­ment Satur­day night, still held out hope for an agree­ment, say­ing it con­tin­ues to work on solutions to dif­fi­cult chal­lenges.

“We are pre­pared to ne­go­ti­ate around the clock be­cause there are thousands of GM fam­i­lies and their com­mu­ni­ties — and many thousands more at our deal­er­ships and sup­pli­ers — count­ing on us for their liveli­hood. Our goal re­mains on build­ing a strong fu­ture for our em­ploy­ees and our busi­ness,” the GM state­ment said.

A strike by 49,200 union work­ers would bring to a halt GM’s U.S. pro­duc­tion, and would likely stop the com­pany from mak­ing ve­hi­cles in Canada and Mex­ico as well. That would mean fewer ve­hi­cles for con­sumers to choose from on dealer lots, and it would make it im­pos­si­ble to build spe­cially or­dered cars and trucks.

Dittes, the union’s chief bar­gainer with GM, wrote in the let­ter to lo­cal union lead­ers that both sides are far apart on nearly all im­por­tant eco­nomic is­sues af­ter months of bar­gain­ing.

“We still have many out­stand­ing is­sues re­main­ing, in­clud­ing sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences be­tween the par­ties on wages, health care ben­e­fits, tem­po­rary em­ploy­ees, job se­cu­rity and profit shar­ing,” the let­ter said.

AP-Yon­hap

Gen­eral Mo­tors logo is seen at the com­pany’s world head­quar­ters in Detroit in this May 16, 2014 file photo.

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