DETROIT – General Motors employees received a letter Friday morning from company leaders that addresses the United Auto Workers union's ongoing strike.
The strike began on Sept. 15 and by the next day nearly 50,000 union members had stopped reporting to work. The strike has resulted in the shutting down of 33 manufacturing plants and 22 part distribution facilities nationwide.
The union has been bargaining for better wages, healthcare, better career paths for temporary workers and what it calls a better commitment from GM to build its vehicles in America.
Gerald Johnson, executive vice president at GM, sent this letter on Friday:
Dear General Motors Employees,
All of us in the GM family have been impacted by this strike. The strike has been hard on you, your families, our communities, the Company, our suppliers and dealers. The speculation in the media for four weeks adds to the uncertainty. I am writing to you today so you know where things stand.
From the outset, General Motors has been committed to an agreement that is fair and worthy of our team members' support. That's why before the contract deadline, we made an offer that we felt was strong. And since that offer, we've done even more to address the issues the UAW has brought forward.
On Monday, we presented another offer we felt achieved our mutual objectives. It would increase compensation through wages and lump sum payments, preserve industry-leading health care benefits without increasing out-of-pocket costs, enhance profit-sharing with unlimited upside, and improve the ratification bonus. For temporary workers, our offer also would create a clear path to permanent employment and include a ratification bonus.
Our offer commits to thousands of new jobs right here in the U.S. and billions of dollars in new investments in our communities.
We have advised the Union that it's critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers. We are committed to the collective bargaining process, and we are committed to our future together. Our success depends on one another. Our offer builds on the winning formula we have all benefited from over the past several years. We remain focused on building a stronger future for everyone.
The letter was sent to all hourly and salaried employees.
Barra meets with UAW
GM CEO Mary Barra requested UAW committees resolve their issues and provide a "comprehensive proposal" during a meeting Wednesday, according to UAW-GM Vice President Terry Ditttes.
"During this meeting, GM CEO Mary Barra requested all committees work to resolve their open issues simultaneously so the company could receive a comprehensive proposal from the union. We agreed with that request and those open committees have been meeting since then and are yet to be concluded," reads the letter.
Dittes said the committees are:
- Statement on Technologies Progress
- Future of Work
- Document 13
- CHR Resolution and UAW Legal Services
Earlier this week, the UAW informed membership that one of the key issues was a lack of commitment by GM to build vehicles at U.S. factories.
"We have openly told GM that we do not see a solid commitment to this talented and skilled workforce that has made them billions of dollars in profits," reads a letter from Dittes. "We have made it clear that there is no job security for us when GM products are made in other countries for the purpose of selling them here in the U.S.A. We believe that the vehicles GM sells here should be built here. We don't understand GM's opposition to this proposition."
The letter notes that the issue of job security is a top agenda item and there has been little progress to report.
Talks are expected to continue Friday.