Contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers union and General Motors took a step forward amid an ongoing nationwide GM strike against the automaker. The Associated Press reports that committees have finished, and top bargainers are now taking the reins.
This essentially means that minor issues have been mostly resolved, but the bigger issues, such as wages and the role of temp workers, still remain on the table.
In a message to UAW members, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes provided an update, saying:
“This back and forth will continue until Negotiations are complete. The International Staff and your elected Bargaining Committee have been working countless hours to reach an Agreement on behalf of our Members, their families and all the communities affected by this strike.”
The message continues, “We will continue to bargain this contract until your Bargaining Committee is satisfied that we have achieved an Agreement that properly addresses our members’ concerns.”
GM also issued a statement, with company spokesman Dan Flores saying the automaker will “continue to bargain in good faith, and our goal remains to reach an agreement that builds a stronger future for our employees and our company.”
While a shift from the committees to the main table is a good indicator that progress has been made towards ending the GM strike, it remains to be seen how far negotiators have left to go in finding a middle ground with regard to the larger issues at hand.
“It kind of depends on how hard each side holds out,” said Art Schwartz, a former GM negotiator who now operates a labor consulting business in Michigan. “This is probably a couple people from each side are going to hammer out the final economics.”
Meanwhile, the ongoing GM strike is quickly closing in on the end of its second week, making for the longest nationwide autoworker walkout in almost three decades. Strikers recently began filing paperwork to collect the weekly $250 strike pay from UAW funds, as well as health care after GM pulled benefits for strikers last week.
On GM’s side, some analysts predict the automaker could lose upwards of $100 million a day as a result of the GM strike.
Source: Associated Press