Update: the two parties have reached a tentative agreement 16 minutes before the deadline. See our complete report here.
On Saturday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the United Auto Workers set a strike deadline for contract negotiations with General Motors for 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, October 25th.
A strike deadline is seen as a way to motivative negotiators on both sides to reach a deal. The notice is similar to what the union gave Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on October 7th, which resulted in the union and the automaker agreeing on a tentative agreement minutes before the deadline. Neither GM nor UAW showed signs that talks had broken down.
The deadline was formally issued by UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada via a message to GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations Vice President Cathy Clegg. The notice terminated a previously-agreed upon indefinite contract extension from September 14th just two days after the union selected GM as its next target for negotiations.
GM issued a statement confirming that it received the deadline from the UAW, stating, “GM confirms that we have received a negotiations deadline from the UAW. We are working with them to address the issues and remain committed to obtaining an agreement that is good for employees and the business.”
If the two sides don’t come to an agreement by the deadlne, it does not mean that the union will actually strike. Instead, the UAW and GM could decide to continue negotiations, move the deadline, or a combination of various other options, one of which is to move the talks to Ford Motor Company. However, many UAW line workers would view a decision to back off the deadline as a sign of weakness by UAW leadership.
The most drastic move that the UAW could take is to strike with all of its 52,700 members. All of those members work at GM plants in the United States, meaning that it’s possible that production at facilities outside the country would not be impacted, unless those facilities depend on GM’s U.S. plants for all of part of their production. Less substantial moves could be to strike at select GM plants. The union has performed both types of strikes against GM in the past two decades.
To note, this is the first year since 2007 that union members at GM and Fiat Chrysler, at that time separate from Fiat, have the capability to strike. The union gave up its rights to strike in 2011 as a condition of the bailouts of Chrysler and GM by the U.S. government.
Stay tuned to GM Authority for updates on this developing story, as well as for more GM News.