DETROIT – The United Autoworkers (UAW) union's strike against General Motors is in its second week.
The UAW and GM could reach a tentative agreement any day that would end the ongoing strike.
Saturday marks the 13th day since union leaders decided to initiate a national strike Sunday, Sept. 15, against the automaker. By the next day, nearly 50,000 union members had stopped reporting to work.
Last weekend, things seemed to be moving forward on negotiations between General Motors and the UAW. Sources said "good progress" was made last Saturday between the union and GM.
The first part of this second week, however, has passed without any tentative deal. Talks between the two parties have centered around wages, profit-sharing and a faster route to full-time wages. One of the top sticking points seems to be the use of temporary workers.
On Wednesday afternoon, UAW Vice President and Director Terry Dittes said in a statement that "all unsettled proposals are now at the Main Table and have been presented to General Motors, and we are awaiting their response."
On Thursday, GM released a statement explaining it had reinstated health care benefits for striking workers. That was a sharp turn from what was announced more than a week earlier. On Sept. 17, GM had announced it moved all striking UAW union members to COBRA health insurance coverage.
The automaker, however, released a statement on Thursday explaining there was "confusion" and that it has "chosen to work with our providers to keep all benefits fully in place for striking hourly employees."
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Sunday was called a "Day of Solidarity," an event where all union members were encouraged to walk the picket line. Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, protested with workers at the GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, expressing solidarity with them.
Similar Solidarity Sunday protests were held around the country in support of GM workers and members of the United Auto Workers.
The UAW said workers are striking to secure:
- Fair wages
- Affordable healthcare
- Their share of profits
- Job security
- A defined path to permanent seniority for temp workers
GM said it presented "a strong offer that improves wages, benefits and grows U.S. jobs in substantive ways."
Overall, union workers have shut down 33 manufacturing plants in nine states and 22 parts distribution warehouses. Negotiations between the two parties have been underway all week, but it's unclear when a new deal could be reached and when the strike will end.
Work has idled a GM engine facility in Saint Catherine's, Ontario due to a parts shortage. Workers at the Oshawa Ontario Truck Plant were laid off last week due to a parts shortage.
UAW members also initiated a strike against Aramark in Michigan and Ohio. About 850 union workers went on strike against Armark the day before the UAW-GM strike started.
"We have UAW members who work long, hard hours and are still on public assistance," said Gerald Kariem, Director of UAW Region 1D. "It's shameful."
Aramark maintenance workers in Hamtramck, Warren, Flint, Grand Blanc and Parma, Ohio have been working on an extended contract since March of 2018, the UAW said.
Key issues involve wages, caps on health insurance, vacation time and 401k retirement.
"Every day, UAW members go to work and keep these plants profitable," said UAW Region 1 Director Frank Stuglin. "It's astounding that Aramark has not agreed to bargain in good faith over their contributions."