Contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers and General Motors continued into the night Monday and through to Tuesday as representatives from both parties attempt to hash out a deal and put a stop to the ongoing strike.
According to USA Today, discussions between the UAW and GM are extremely tense, with breaks having to be called at certain points during the discussions as tempers flared. It is believed the two are still quite far from reaching a deal, with the UAW seeking concessions with regard to healthcare, new product allocation, job security and pensions for temp workers.
“We have many unresolved issues,” Terry Dittes, vice president of the UAW-GM arm, said Monday. “It’s not just a couple of things. How long will this take? I can’t say.”
Dittes also said GM could have avoided a strike entirely, but only brought forth a contract proposal two hours before the midnight deadline last Saturday, leaving the UAW little time to negotiate the proposal.
Labor experts believe this is actually a good sign, however, as Dittes appeared open to using the first proposal as a basis for the finalized contract.
USA Today’s report indicates the strike will likely last two to four weeks. Creditors estimate the strike will cost GM about $50 million per day. While the automaker has a strong 77-day stockpile of inventory at its U.S. dealer lots and on storage lots, dwindling inventory may have a negative effect on GM’s competitive position in the marketplace.
Nearly 50,000 UAW members are currently on strike against GM.
In an unusual turn of events, GM released some details about its UAW proposal Sunday, saying it planned to add 5,400 labor jobs in the United States in the next four years to help build battery cells for electric vehicles and a new electric pickup truck. The automaker said the deal also entailed a ratification payment of $8,000, wage and lump-sum increases for all four years of the contract and an improved wage sharing formula.
The company did not address key issues often tabled by the UAW, however, such as improving employee healthcare benefits and providing a “clear path,” to a pension for temporary workers. Healthcare and pensions are believed to be an important part of the negotiations for the UAW. GM, meanwhile, is looking to cut back on its $1 billion-per-year healthcare payments and keep temp workers cheap.