Nearly 50,000 General Motors workers are on strike nationwide. When their contract ran out, it made the auto maker’s first strike in 12 years inevitable. At 12:01 a.m. Monday morning, workers shut down their machines and walked out the door.
The last time United Auto Workers union members walked a GM picket line was in 2007. “We do not take this lightly,” insists Terry Dittes, the UAW vice president assigned to work with General Motors. “This is our last resort.”
The company’s offer on the table would have budgeted over $7 billion for investments and would have added almost 5,400 new jobs, with pay raises and improved benefits. “We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency,” GM officials contend.
Shortly after President Donald Trump tweeted late Sunday evening, urging both sides to “get together and make a deal,” the company sweetened the pot a little.
According to Dittes, “if the company had made its latest offer earlier, the union may not have gone on strike. The company waited to make the offer until two hours before the contract expired.”
The union wants to see new products so that GM won’t have to close assembly plants in Ohio and Michigan. They also want a bigger cut of the money after years of record profits for General Motors.
According to the Associated Press, “Workers shut down 33 manufacturing plants in nine states across the U.S., as well as 22 parts distribution warehouses.”
It’s not clear how long the walkout will last, the union maintains that “GM has budged little in months of talks.” A strike will halt GM’s North American operations and hurt the rest of the U.S. economy.
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