General Motors issued a statement Friday urging the UAW to respond to a contract proposal it made to the union on Monday, saying it is “critical” that its employees return to work and “get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers.”
The details of the proposal the automaker sent on Monday are private, but GM believes the offer meets the UAW’s demands. The company claims the offer “would increase compensation through wages and lump-sum payments, preserve industry-leading health care benefits without increasing out-of-pocket costs, enhance profit sharing with unlimited upside, and improve the ratification bonus,” as well as offer temporary workers “a clear path to permanent employment.” It also included a ratification bonus.
However, the GM letter did not indicate if the proposal included reopening the Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio and keeping the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant in Michigan open. It is believed that the UAW will not accept an offer from GM that does not include the reopening of Lordstown and keeping the Detroit plant open. GM had previously offered to allocate battery cell production for electric vehicles to Lordstown and build its future electric pickup truck at the Hamtramck site, but later walked back the offer. This decision is thought to be the reason behind the UAW’s statement released last Sunday, which said that discussions with GM had broken down completely.
For what it’s worth, the GM statement released this Friday said the latest offer “commits to thousands of new jobs right here in the U.S. and billions of dollars in new investments in our communities.”
The statement, which was written by GM’s Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing, Gerald Johnson, also says that “speculation in the media,” has added to the uncertainty surrounding the contract negotiations.
On Thursday, GM CEO Mary Barra met with UAW leaders in an effort to advance the discussions. According to the New York Post, which described the meeting as “secret,” Barra helped inject new life into the UAW negotiations—though the details of what was discussed are not clear.
The UAW strike, which began on September 15, has cost GM roughly $1 billion so far and has also had a negative effect on the U.S. economy, idling supplier plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and forcing shipping companies to park their trucks. It has also affected GM plants and workers in Canada and Mexico.
GM’s Friday letter acknowledged the various difficulties brought on by the strike, with Johnson writing that “all of us in the GM family have been impacted by this strike,” and acknowledging that it has “been hard on (UAW workers), (their) families, our communities, the Company, our suppliers and dealers.”
You can read the entire letter at this link.