General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra has stepped into contract talks with striking auto workers, asking the union to wrap up outstanding issues and respond to a company offer made this week. He said GM made a comprehensive offer to the union this past Monday which included improved wages, a way for temporary employees to become permanent employees, maintaining the current health care coverage and commitments to invest billions of dollars in USA plants to create thousands of new USA jobs.
"We have advised the Union that it's critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers", GM said in the letter.
GM's latest offer boosts wages and lump-sum payments and preserves health care benefits, Gerald Johnson, the automaker's executive vice president of manufacturing, wrote to employees October 11.
"At every step of the way, GM has attempted to undermine the ongoing, good-faith efforts the UAW has made to end this strike", the union said.
"While investors may look through the one-time impacts.the strike reminds us of the challenge of investing in OEMs at this point in the cycle", analyst Dan Levy wrote in a note. GM said its latest proposal "would create a clear path to permanent employment and include a ratification bonus". The importance of the "future of work" committee underlines what we have been pointing out since the beginning of this strike: "it is more about the future than about the cash".
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The messages mark a turning point for GM in the fourth week of a strike that's halted production at 34 USA plants and disrupted output at factories in Mexico and Canada.
Both sides are separated on major economic issues such as wages and lump-sum payments and better pensions that will be bargained at the "main table" by top negotiators.
The UAW began strike action on September 16, with the union's 48,000 members seeking higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of the automaker's profit and protection of healthcare benefits.
'Your members and our employees lives are being disrupted and they deserve our commitment to getting any remaining issues resolved as quickly as possible, ' Sandefur added.
The strike could cost the automaker about $1.5 billion, brokerage Credit Suisse said on Friday, throwing the US automaker's cost reduction plans off the track and forcing key suppliers to cut their 2019 outlook. Three - an assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, and transmission plants in Baltimore and Warren, Michigan - have already been shut, and another assembly plant in Detroit is due to close early next year.
Barra's goal was to get the talks moving again, sources briefed on the matter said. GM says it has found other jobs for 2,300 of the 3,000 workers who worked in those plants, but many had to relocate.