United Auto Workers alerted its members Sunday that negotiations with General Motors “have taken a turn for the worse.”
UAW announced a national strike against General Motors in mid September after its collective bargaining agreement with company expired and the two parties failed to settle on a new agreement. Roughly 49,000 workers nationwide are now preparing to enter their fourth week of striking.
Terry Dittes, vice president and director of UAW’s General Motors Department (pictured above), sent a letter to union members Sunday morning to bring them up to speed on “an extensive package proposal” union bosses presented to General Motors Saturday night.
“Our proposal addressed issues of wages, signing bonus, job security, pensions, skilled trades, profit sharing, transfer rights; to name just a few,” said Dittes, noting that General Motors provided a response Sunday morning.
“The company’s response did not address our extensive package provided last evening. They reverted back to their last rejected proposal and made little change. The company’s response did nothing to advance a whole host of issues that are important to you and your families. It did nothing to provide job security during the term of this agreement,” Dittes continued.
He said UAW could “not be more disappointed with General Motors,” saying the company refuses “to recognize the experience and talent of our membership who make their world-class products and billions of dollars in profits.”
“Brothers and sisters, after making some progress on important issues a couple of days ago, the company has shown an unwillingness to fairly compensate the great workforce of the UAW,” he concluded his letter. “These negotiations have taken a turn for the worse.”
A source close to the negotiations told Fox Business Sunday that one of the main reasons negotiations have stalled is because General Motors refuses to commit to bringing any product lines back from Mexico.
General Motors responded by noting that it employs 49,000 hourly workers in America and 16,000 in Mexico, and has invested $23 billion in the U.S. economy over the last 10 years compared to $5 billion in Mexico.
Democratic presidential candidates have jumped on the opportunity to support striking workers. Sen. Bernie Sanders marched with UAW members outside of General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.
“All over this country, working people are sick and tired of working two or three jobs, seeing their healthcare benefits go down, seeing their wages go down and seeing the CEOs get huge compensation packages,” Sanders said. “They are tired of working in factories for decades and waking up one day and seeing that factory moved to Mexico, where people are paid $3 an hour.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar also participated in a UAW strike in Detroit, saying General Motors “bounced back because of these workers.”
As The Michigan Star reported, two Michigan teachers’ unions have come out in support of the UAW strike.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Terry Dittes” and “UAW GM Letter” by UAW.