Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

The UAW strike began on Sept. 16, with the union’s 48,000 members at GM seeking higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of profit and protection of health-care benefits.

BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters

General Motors Co. took the unusual step of appealing directly to its unionized employees in a blog post on Friday that laid out its latest offer aimed at ending a month-long strike, drawing an angry response from the union that the auto maker was trying to “starve … workers off the picket lines.”

While emphasizing GM’s commitment to the collective bargaining process, the letter, signed by Gerald Johnson, executive vice-president for global manufacturing, circumvents United Auto Workers (UAW) leadership and points to frustration at a lack of progress on ending a conflict that has already cost the company more than US$1-billion.

The UAW strike began on Sept. 16, with the union’s 48,000 members at GM seeking higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of profit and protection of health care benefits. Credit Suisse estimated the loss could hit about US$1.5-billion, and the Center for Automotive Research estimated the weekly costs to GM and the UAW strike fund at US$450-million and US$12-million, respectively.

Story continues below advertisement

As part of its revised offer, GM boosted the amount it plans to invest in the United States to about US$9-billion from its previous offer of US$7-billion, a source familiar with the offer said.

Of the new total, US$7.7-billion would be invested directly in GM plants, with the rest going to joint ventures including a potential battery plant near the Lordstown, Ohio, factory that has been idled, the source said.

GM stock closed up 2.6 per cent at $35.57 on Friday.

The company said the offer also includes increased compensation through wages and one-time payments, preserving industry-leading health-care benefits without increasing workers’ costs, enhanced profit sharing with unlimited upside and a higher ratification bonus than the US$8,000 previously offered.

For temporary workers, GM said its offer would create a path to permanent employment and include a ratification bonus.

“The strike has been hard on you, your families, our communities, the company, our suppliers and dealers,” Mr. Johnson said. “We have advised the union that it’s critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers.”

The UAW in a statement said GM was “playing games at the expense of workers” and accused the auto maker of “purposefully stalling the process to starve UAW-GM workers off the picket lines.”

Story continues below advertisement

“At every step of the way, GM has attempted to undermine the ongoing, good-faith efforts the UAW has made to end this strike,” the union said.

In a subsequently released video, the UAW’s lead GM negotiator, Terry Dittes, said the union would bargain at the table and not through the media. “Let me be clear: The company’s strategy of releasing half-truths does nothing to reach a final settlement.”

GM responded with a statement from its senior vice president of communications, Tony Cervone: “The goal of our communication has been to inform – not incite. We will continue to provide information in a straightforward, and importantly, factual way.”

FIVE ISSUES

In a Thursday letter to UAW leaders, GM urged the union to agree to around-the-clock negotiations, while the union insisted in its own letter on dealing with five specific issues first before it responded to the broader proposal made to union negotiators Monday.

GM chief executive officer Mary Barra met on Wednesday with UAW president Gary Jones and Mr. Dittes to urge a faster response by the union to the company’s last offer.

One of the five issues the committees are discussing is the fate of four U.S. factories that GM has indicated could close, according to the UAW letter. Other issues include future technological changes to production and the fate of the UAW-GM joint training centre. Mr. Dittes said he did not know when the issues would be resolved, suggesting a final deal may not be close.

Story continues below advertisement

UAW workers are concerned that as GM shifts to more electric vehicles, it will require fewer workers, and that workers in battery production plants may earn less than those at existing transmission plants.

Reuters previously reported GM told the UAW it could build a new battery plant near the now-shuttered Lordstown factory and assemble an electric truck at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

Moody’s said in a Friday report that GM must maintain its flexibility under any new deal to build electric and self-driving vehicles without its fixed costs rising further. It said GM’s annual costs in wages and benefits are more than US$1-billion higher than foreign automakers operating U.S. plants.

“We expect that the long-term strategic benefits of obtaining a UAW contract … will outweigh the costs of enduring a protracted strike that might last into November,” Moody’s said.

On Sunday, the UAW said the talks took a “turn for the worse,” and on Tuesday, the union urged GM to boost U.S. vehicle production.

The UAW’s membership is largely in the Midwest, in states that could be critical to both sides in the November, 2020, presidential election, so the strike has drawn the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump, his rivals seeking the Democratic nomination and U.S. lawmakers. They have urged GM to build more vehicles in the U.S. and shift work from Mexico.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies