UAW-GM strike: VP says counterproposal offered after GM proposal doesn't settle 'important issues'

Union submits counterproposal

DETROIT – The United Autoworkers (UAW) union's strike against General Motors is on its 16th day since the strike began.

According to a statement from Vice President and Director of the UAW General Motors Department Terry Dittes, GM passed a comprehensive proposal at 9:40 p.m. on Monday. That proposal did not "satisfy your contract demands or needs," according to the statement.

Dittes said the contract came up short in areas such as health care, wages, temporary employees, skilled trades and job security. The UAW is working to reach an agreement "that meets the needs of our membership."

The union has submitted a counterproposal and is waiting on GM's next proposal to the union.

Read the full statement below:

"Last night, Monday, September 30, 2019, GM passed a comprehensive proposal at 9:40 pm across the bargaining table.

This proposal that the Company provided to us on day 15 of the strike did not satisfy your contract demands or needs. There were many areas that came up short like health care, wages, temporary employees, skilled trades and job security to name a few.  Additionally, concessionary proposals still remain in the company's proposals as of late last night.

We have responded today with a counterproposal and are awaiting GM's next proposal to the Union. Regardless of what is publicized in print or social media, etc., there are still many important issues that remain unresolved.

Brothers and Sisters, we appreciate your sacrifice and loyal support, but as you can see from this brief report, your important issues have yet to be satisfied and settled. We remain committed, however, to exploring all options in order to reach an agreement that meets the needs of our Membership."

A General Motors spokesperson released the following statement:

"We continue to negotiate and exchange proposals, and remain committed to reaching an agreement that builds a stronger future for our employees and our company."

UAW-GM strike: Following updates on day 16


GM health care announcement

On Sept, 26, 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."

Read the union's response here.

Sunday, Sept. 22,  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 protests were held around the country that weekend in support of GM workers and members of the United Auto Workers. 

Union demands

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.

Aramark workers strike

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."

About the Authors:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.