UAW to Strike GM – Contract Talks Deadlocked

AutoInformed.com on GM andthe UAW

The opening day for contract talks this year arguably began with baseball. An example of idiocy from the tone-deaf management of General Motors, the opening day lineup was changed as UAW members arose in anger and successfully got a Mexican-Made Chevrolet Blazer removed from the Chevrolet Fountain at Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers. Both the Union and GM leadership just watched the Mexican stolen base with defensive indifference. In the Blazer’s place now is a U.S.-made Traverse.

Local UAW Union leaders from across the nation met Sunday morning after the 2015 General Motors collective bargaining agreement expired last night and opted to strike at midnight on Sunday. In a widely expected development, the autoworkers are calling on the Big 3 automaker “to recognize the contributions and sacrifices that the company’s UAW members have made to create a healthy, profitable, industry.”

There are other issues in play that thus far have not been part of the publicly known parts of the negotiations. UAW President Gary Jones, of course is under an investigation by the FBI in the fraudulent diversion of funds from FCA Fiat that were supposed to support UAW worker training. He refused to stand down as president during the contract talks as criminal investigations ensue.

A two-year probe has already led to the convictions of five people affiliated with the UAW and three Fiat Chrysler executives. Michael Grimes, a retired senior official with the union’s GM division, is charged with wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly receiving $2 million in kickbacks from UAW vendors pled guilty to stealing from union members over a period of nearly 12 years, 2006 and July 1, 2018.

GM continued its bland public posture saying in a statement: “We continue to work hard on solutions to some very 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.”

Following a formal meeting of the GM Council consisting of local union leaders, the UAW announced the membership is going on strike at midnight Sunday to secure:

  • Fair Wages
  • Affordable Healthcare
  • Our Share of Profits
  • Job Security
  • A Defined Path to Permanent Seniority for Temps

The decision to strike comes a day after UAW Vice President Terry Dittes notified General Motors leadership that the Union would not agree to extend the Collective Bargaining Agreements.

“We told UAW GM members that we would stand up for them and their future,” said Gary Jones, President of the UAW.

The strike does not just involve GM and its suppliers. It has the potential to turn into a national crisis and affect the upcoming presidential election. It could certainly drag in Ford and FCA. At midnight more than 850 Aramark workers in Michigan and Ohio walked off the job over better wages, health care and retirement. The teamsters have yet to be heard from.

“We have UAW members who work long, hard hours and are still on public assistance,” said Gerald Kariem, Director of UAW Region 1D. “It’s shameful.”

Aramark maintenance workers in Hamtramck, Warren, Flint, Grand Blanc and Parma, Ohio have been working on an extended contract since March of 2018. Key issues involve wages, caps on health insurance, vacation time and 401k retirement. The union, negotiating with GM for a new deal for autoworkers, extended contracts for Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, but told GM Saturday that it would not extend its contract.

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About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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