The United Auto Workers are on strike as of Sunday night.
Contract negotiations appear to have broken down between the UAW and General Motors, resulting in 49,000 unionized employees going on strike as 11:59 PM Sunday evening. UAW’s contract with GM expired on Sunday, and although there were hopes a new contract could be in place before the old one expired, there appears to be no sign that the two sides are anywhere close to reaching an agreement.
Negotiations between the UAW and GM cover a wide range of topics, including wages, healthcare, profit sharing, and job security. GM is in the process of closing down four US plants due to production overcapacity, and the UAW is fighting to keep those plants open.
Meanwhile, GM is trying to bring down production costs, including a wage gap between domestic and foreign-owned wages. GM pays an average of $63 per hour in wages while the average foreign-owned, non-unionized carmaker pays around $50 per hour. Much of that wage gap can be attributed to ongoing healthcare and benefits costs.
Union leaders met Sunday morning to discuss the latest offer from GM, which the company said in a statement included $7 billion in future investments 5,400 more jobs, pay and benefits increases, and a signing bonus of $8,000 to every employee upon ratification. GM’s offer didn’t do enough to offset the rising costs of living or address employee’s desire for a greater share of record GM profits.
“We do not take this lightly. This is our last resort,” UAW vice-president Terry Dittes said. “We are standing up for fair wages, we are standing up for affordable, quality health care. We are standing up for our share of the profits.”
According to Fox Business News, teamsters will honor the UAW strike by refusing to transport GM vehicles. They will also honor picket lines while standing in solidarity with striking workers.
Talks are set to resume on Monday morning. The last time GM workers went on strike was 2007, which lasted two days and cost GM over $300 million.