United Auto Workers (UAW) Strike Update – October 9, 2019

by Al Simpson, Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The UAW-GM strike is now over 3 weeks old. The UAW has not given out much information regarding the sticking points in the negotiations. Below is the publicly available information on these negotiations. 

Health Insurance Payments by Workers Increase
GM wanted the health insurance payments by the workers to increase from 3 percent to 15 percent. According to the Detroit Free Press, this demand has been rescinded.

Progression of Tier II Workers
Tier II workers currently start at $17 per hour and can progress to a maximum of $29 per hour after 8 years. No information has been forthcoming on the progression of these workers, except that it’s still being negotiated. Supposedly, Tier II workers will get a raise, but the amount has not been provided.

Temporary Part Time Workers (TPTs)
The status of TPTs is still being negotiated. There is a rumor that TPTs will roll over to full-time after three years, but there is no verification of this. As before, no information regarding wages has been provided. GM is trying to force its workforce to conform to corporate America’s dream vision of the future: an army of temporary workers with no rights who can be thrown onto the streets at will; factories that can be shuttered by the company as it wishes; the elimination of employer-provided healthcare; and rising productivity through speedup with lower wages and higher injury rates.

Skilled Trades
According to the Detroit Free Press, the UAW wants an apprenticeship program for the training of skilled tradesmen such as tool and die makers, mechanics, etc., as many such workers are now retiring. This is still under negotiation.

New Tech Vs Old
The UAW negotiators are open to modern technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles. However, the UAW wants more traditional vehicles to be built in the U.S. because they have many more parts and will provide more jobs. This can paint the UAW into a corner once GM transitions away from traditional vehicles!

Auto workers in Mexico average $1.90 an hour according to the Detroit Free Press.  The complex traditional vehicles can be built more cheaply in Mexico because of cheaper labor costs. The UAW negotiators argue that the electric vehicles won’t go to market for years so it pays to build the traditional vehicles in the U.S., at the expense of factories in Mexico. Instead,unions need to support each others’ strikes and not compete for production. Imagine if all auto workers struck for higher wages, pay equity, and job security.

More Investments by GM
According to Reuters, as part of its revised offer, GM boosted the amount it plans to invest in the United States to about $9 billion from its previous offer of $7 billion. Of the new total, $7.7 billion would be invested directly in GM plants, with the rest going to joint ventures including a potential battery plant near the Lordstown, Ohio factory that has been idled. The battery plant will not be a GM operated plant and will necessarily be covered by another contract – probably at lower wages.

You can show solidarity and support the strike by joining workers on the picket lines and bringing food and signs.  Wikipedia has a list of factories in the US and other countries. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_General_Motors_factories#Current_factories

4 thoughts on “United Auto Workers (UAW) Strike Update – October 9, 2019”

    1. Ian, the question you’re asking is too broad. This is an article and update covering the recent UAW-GM strike. There was lots of support for the American strike in Mexico and some Mexican GM employees were fired for supporting the strike. But, unfortunately, the strike did not spread to Mexico. GM has a big operation in China. It would have been helpful, if the Chinese workers went on strike in sympathy with the American workers, but this did not happen either. The UAW did not even spread the strike within the U.S. It would have been useful if the Ford and Fiat-Chrysler workers went on strike in addition to the GM workers.

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      1. Hi Al this is Patrick. I was asking about those locations because GM has factory plants in Brazil, South Africa, Korea and many more places that I cannot list off the top of my head. Do they know anything on the American strike?

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      2. Patrick, I can tell you by first-hand observation that American GM workers don’t know what’s happening in the negotiations because the UAW is not proving much information. Consequently, I seriously doubt that foreign auto workers would know any more. In addition, I do not have direct labor contacts in the countries that you named.
        The UAW only has locals in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, so, there is no direct communications with labor organizations in other countries, nor do the backward misleaders of the UAW want such connections.
        In 2017, GM shut down its operations in South Africa. GM’s Korean operation (which includes Vietnam) has staged a series of strikes. See URL:
        https://www.just-auto.com/news/gm-korea-union-restarts-strike-action-after-wage-talks-fail_id190918.aspx

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