GM President Mark Reuss has issued a new statement addressing the ongoing UAW labor strike and some of the union’s demands. The UAW is currently employing a targeted strike strategy wherein UAW members are staging walkouts at select facilities, rather than at every facility all at once. The UAW strike is now in its sixth day, with walkouts called following the expiration of the previous labor contract at 11:59 p.m. last Thursday. Further walkouts are expected by the end of the week if an agreement is not found.
Per a report from The Detroit News, GM says that the UAW’s targeted strike at the GM Wentzville plant in Missouri has already impacted production at the GM Fairfax plant in Kansas. The GM Wentzville plant produces the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, as well as the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size vans, while the GM Wentzville’s stamping operation provide stamped parts to the GM Fairfax facility, where the Chevy Malibu and Cadillac XT4 are produced.
“It is unfortunate that the UAW leadership’s decision to call a strike at Wentzville Assembly has already had a negative ripple effect, with GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas being idled today and most of its represented team members leaving the plant as there is no work available,” GM said in a statement.
GM is offering the UAW a 20-percent wage hike, an increase that GM President Reuss characterizes as a “record offer.” UAW President Shawn Fain, however, says 20 percent is not enough. Reuss also stated that the UAW was spreading “myths” over what GM could afford and what UAW members earn at GM.
Reuss said that GM’s current offer would bring 85 percent of UAW members’ base wage to roughly $82,000 annually, with some entry-level employees given a maximum rate of $39.24 per hour by the end of a new contract, an increase of 141 percent for some.
The UAW originally requested a 40-percent wage increase, but has since dropped its demand to 36 percent. The UAW is also calling for an end to wage tiers, while GM is proposing a cut to the time it takes to reach the top tier from eight years to four.
The UAW recently published a video denouncing corporate greed and justifying its demands, claiming that GM has increased CEO pay and stock buybacks significantly, while worker pay has more or less stagnated. Reuss, however, says that GM’s net income profit in 2022 was $9.9 billion, while its capital spending in 2023 will be between $11 billion and $12 billion.
“If we don’t continue to invest, we will lose ground – quickly,” Reuss states. “Our competitors across the country and around the world, most of whom are non-union, will waste no time seizing the opportunity we would be handing them.”
In total there are roughly 146,000 autoworkers represented by the UAW, 46,000 of which work at GM. The UAW previously conducted a walkout at GM facilities in 2019.
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