UAW says its 49K members at GM plants will go on strike

United Auto Workers members picket outside the General Motors Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant in Hamtramck Mich. Monday Sept. 16 2019. Roughly 49,000 workers at General Motors plants in the U.S. went on strike just before midnight Sunday but talks

UAW Votes For Nationwide Strike To Begin Before Midnight Sunday

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.

A spokesman for GM issued a statement claiming that the auto manufacturer's last offer had included a promise to invest more than $7 billion in domestic plant operations, and to create an additional 5,400 U.S.jobs.

The four-year contract between General Motors and the United Auto Workers expired Saturday, but workers were told to report to jobs as negotiations continued and the prospect of a national strike loomed.

Any deal the UAW reaches with GM would set a precedent for the jobs, wages, benefits that the union demands from Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. The union has picked GM as its target company this year, and any deal it negotiates will be used as a template for the others.

The strike - from midnight (04:00 GMT) on Monday - is the first at GM, America's biggest carmaker, since 2007. GM has also offered an $8,000 payment to each worker once the new contract is ratified.

For every auto assembler, there are several manufacturing and supply workers outside GM that could be adversely affected if the plants shut down, Rothenberg said Sunday. "Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our Members, their families and the communities where we work and live", said UAW Vice President Terry Dittes.

Approximately 48,000 UAW-GM workers from across the country were a part of the strike.

The plant is capable of producing up to 100-million parts per year, General Motors said.

The roughly 850 janitors, who are employed by Aramark but represented by the UAW, walked off the job at eight GM plants in MI and OH after the two sides failed to come to terms on a contract extension following 18 months of negotiations. But GM still builds the overwhelming majority of cars it sells in the U.S. market in North America. GM pays $63 per hour in wages and benefits compared with $50 at the foreign-owned factories. In that same time period, sales of sedans have dropped 10 percent to 22.9 percent of market share, according to Experian, while sales of crossovers have grown 10 percent to make up almost half of all new cars sold in 2018.

GM announced last November it was effectively shuttering five plants in North America, including facilities in MI and OH that were "unallocated" for production.

Tiller, a 22-year GM employee, framed the strike as about more than GM employees.

Experts say the scandal will make it more hard to get rank and file union members at the automakers to ratify any tentative deal reached by union leadership.

However, it remains unclear if the two sides had plans for further negotiations.

Workers say the strike is to secure "fair wages, affordable health care, share profits, job security and a defined path to permanent seniority for temps". Among the company's most profitable vehicles, they include the Escalade, the GMC Yukon and the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has raided the home of Gary Jones, the union's current president. But Friday night, union leaders did not remove Jones.

Sanders noted GM received a USA -taxpayer funded $50 billion bailout a decade ago.

- The union also wants new products for the four factories GM wants to close.

Temporary employees and those working their way up the pay scale are doing the same work for less compensation, said Ted Krumm, the head of the union's bargaining committee.

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