DETROIT - During a media briefing Sunday morning, United Auto Workers officials announced a national strike against General Motors will begin at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
This is the nation's first auto strike in more than a decade. Workers are demanding a fair contract. The media briefing was held in Detroit's Marriott Renaissance Hotel. It took place after a private meeting between the UAW and GM.
Aramark workers are already picketing. Nearly 50,000 UAW workers are going on strike at midnight. It will be the largest strike against a U.S. business since 2007.
It won't take long for members to feel the effects of the strike. Members who picket will be paid $250 a week.
Workers are preparing by organizing picket schedules and food and water deliveries.
Embattled UAW President Gary Jones did not announce the strike, nor did he speak with the media. Instead, Jones left the talking to UAW Vice President Terry Dittes.
"President Jones has said we do not take this lightly," Dittes said. "This is our last resort. It represents great sacrifice and great courage on the part of our members and all of us."
Dittes echoed the longstanding rallying cry of these national talks.
"We are standing up for fair wages," Dittes said. "We are standing up for affordable quality health care. We are standing up for our share of the profits."
In an unusual turn, GM listed the benefits it offered that the UAW said no to.
"Over $7 billion in new plants and product programs that also impact 5,400 jobs new or created," said Gerald Johnson with GM Global Manufacturing. "We think inside that we've also been able to handle unallocated plants in Michigan and Ohio."
This all left Wayne State University business professor Marick Masters concerned.
"If they hold out stubbornly and just say, 'We're not going to find a common ground,' they're gonna end up hurting each other and doing nobody any good," Masters said.
GM also said it had offered top-of-the-line medical benefits, lump sum pay increases in all four years and a signing bonus of $8,000.
But one of the things the union is looking for is cost-of-living increases that have been suspended by GM over the past two contracts.
The strikes are estimated to cost GM $250 million a day.
Negotiations are set to resume Monday morning.
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Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit will be following this developing story.
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