GM Workers Vote To Strike At Midnight

The picket line at the Town of Tonawanda GM plant was in place as of midnight

The picket line at the Town of Tonawanda GM plant was in place as of midnight. Mike Desmond WBFO News

In the letter dated Sunday, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes told GM's labor relations chief that the latest offer could have made it possible to reach an agreement and avoid the strike that shut down more than 50 GM factories and parts warehouses just after midnight on Monday. It's the largest strike by any union against any business since the last strike at GM in 2007.

They claim that when it comes to a new contract, GM won't budge.

A strike will very quickly shut down GM's operations across North America and could hurt the broader US economy. In total there are 31 GM factories and 21 other facilities in those states where workers will be striking.

Negotiations between the United Auto Workers and General Motors reached an impasse Sunday night leading to a strike at the Corvette Assembly Plant as 49,000 workers nationwide began to picket. It will be the largest strike against a USA business since 2007.

It wasn't clear how long the walkout would last, with the union saying GM has budged little in months of talks while GM said it made substantial offers including higher wages and factory investments.

Hours before Sunday's decision to strike, contract maintenance workers walked off the job at GM plants in MI and OH in a parallel dispute with contractor Aramark.

Also top of mind is the idling of several GM plants, including an assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. GM has said they negotiated in good faith. GM would not give a precise number. President Donald Trump has consistently criticized the company and demanded that Lordstown be reopened.

"That's how they want to use the working class", he said. Workers are demanding a fair contract. The two had held negotiations in a host of issues including wages, healthcare, profit sharing, and job security but a compromise couldn't be reached.

For now, the strike isn't anticipated to impact the immediate availability of most GM vehicles.

One of the solutions proposed by GM for the troubled factories involves turning the OH plant into an electric vehicle battery production facility.

"That's going to have a big effect on the economy", she said.

Lordstown Motors Corp., an affiliate with Cincinnati-based Workhorse, is in talks with GM to buy the sprawling complex to produce fleet-style pickup trucks. But the real heavy-hitters are the skilled trades workers who make up about 15 percent of the company's workforce-and these individuals can earn as much as $36 per hour and are often granted heavy overtime. The probe has raised questions about UAW President Gary Jones, who was identified as an unnamed official mentioned in a searing federal complaint this week detailing alleged embezzlement by union leaders.

This is far below their normal wages. "(GM) will start to see costs immediately, but the costs (will) become prohibitive and drive them back to the table after a couple of weeks".

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