As we’ve covered all week, the UAW has called for a nationwide GM strike, the first company-wide strike in more than a decade. However, according to the vice president of the UAW’s General Motors Department, Terry Dittes, the strike may have been avoided entirely had General Motors provided a “serious” deal offer more than a few hours prior to the expiration of the previous labor contract.
In a letter to union members on Sunday, Dittes wrote:
“We are disappointed that the company waited until just two hours before the contract expired to make what we regard as its first serious offer. Had we received this proposal earlier in the process, it may have been possible to reach a tentative agreement and avoid a strike.”
The previous labor contract between the UAW and GM expired at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday. The UAW ended up rejecting the proposal, and declared that the GM strike would go into effect Sunday night.
General Motors issued a statement on Sunday in response to the UAW’s call for a GM strike, saying:
“We presented a strong offer that improves wages, benefits and grows U.S. jobs in substantive ways, and it is disappointing that the UAW leadership has chosen to strike at midnight tonight. We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency. Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business.”
As we covered previously, the UAW is seeking a number of things at the negotiating table, including wage increases, health care benefits, job security, profit sharing, and a way forward for temporary workers to find permanent positions.
“We are willing to meet as frequently, and for as long as it takes, to reach an agreement that treats our members fairly,” Dittes said in the UAW letter.
It remains to be seen whether or not the two groups will piece together a deal in a timely manner. Early reports indicated a contentious negotiation process, although more recent reports point to slow progress.
Meanwhile, the GM strike continues.
Source: Detroit Free Press