48ºF

UAW-GM strike: General Motors reinstates health care benefits for striking workers

GM announced Sept. 17 that striking workers were moved to COBRA coverage

DETROIT – General Motors has reinstated health care benefits for striking United Autoworkers (UAW) members as the second week of the union's strike against GM continues.

Thursday marks the 11th 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.

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."

"Given this confusion, GM has chosen to work with our providers to keep all benefits fully in place for striking hourly employees, so they have no disruption to their medical care, including vision, prescription and dental coverage," reads a statement from GM. "If they have an insurance claim, they should submit it. GM will continue to provide them the coverage they rely on given the circumstances."

UAW Vice President and Director Terry Dittes wrote a letter to GM in response to this, calling GM's actions "shameful." The letter addressed to Scott Sandefur, GM vice president of labor relations, reads:

Mr. Sandefur:

I am in receipt of your email dated Wednesday, September 25, 2019, that I received this morning, Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 8:57 am.

Let me recap the sequence of events regarding this very important matter for all our striking members and their families.

On Monday, September 16, 2019, I wrote to you via email to get a status update regarding our Members' health care. On Tuesday, September 17, 2019, you provided an answer that our striking members and their families no longer had health care coverage. You also wrote, "Our employees should be eligible for COBRA paid for by the UAW fund so that their health care benefits can continue." The same day you informed me that health care was no longer in effect I sent correspondence to all UAW Local Leadership informing them of such.

Finally, a week after terminating benefits, you write me a letter dated Wednesday, September 25, 2019, and received on Thursday, September 26, 2019, stating, "GM has chosen to work with our providers to keep all benefits fully in place for striking hourly employees."

These irresponsible actions by General Motors are toying with the lives of hundreds of thousands of our UAW families.

There is no doubt that public sentiment sees these actions of GM as a shameful act!

Finally, it is time for GM to come to the bargaining table with an offer that reflects the hard work of our Members who make you successful and will settle this strike on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of UAW families, and stop toying with our families' health and well-being.

Sincerely,

Terry Dittes

Over this past weekend, things seemed to be moving forward on negotiations between General Motors and the UAW. Sources said "good progress" was made 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.

UAW: All unsettled proposals on the main table

"All unsettled proposals are now at the Main Table and have been presented to General Motors, and we are awaiting their response."

That's the beginning of a statement released Wednesday afternoon by UAW Vice President and Director Terry Dittes.

"This back and forth will continue until Negotiations are complete. The International Staff and your elected Bargaining Committee have been working countless hours to reach an Agreement on behalf of our Members, their families and all the communities affected by this strike," reads the rest of the statement. "We will continue to bargain this contract until your Bargaining Committee is satisfied that we have achieved an Agreement that properly addresses our Members' concerns. Thank you very much for your loyal support and the sacrifice you are making every day for what is just and right!"

Thursday marks the 11th 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. 

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.

UAW-GM strike day 10: Progress being made during negotiations

Follow updates here:

 

 

 


About the Authors: