The United Auto Workers union has called for its members nationwide to strike against General Motors. The bold move comes as the two parties are reportedly still far apart on many critical items during the negotiation of their new collective bargaining agreement.
GM’s contract with the union technically expired on September 14th. UAW officials were unwilling to extend the existing contract, which was signed in 2015, because officials feel they and GM are still too far apart to avoid the dramatic move of authorizing a strike.
“UAW helped rebuild General Motors when they were near extinction, now they’ve reached record-level profits. If GM refuses to give even an inch to help hard-working UAW members and their families, then we’ll see them on the picket lines tonight,” the union said in a statement.
UAW officials says GM is still not budging enough on base wages, health care, temporary workers or job security. Details surrounding those broad issues have not been disclosed, but the UAW has made it clear it aspires to eliminate today’s two-tier wage system and build in a path for temporary workers to become permanent employees.
On Saturday, GM said in a statement: “We continue to work hard on solutions to some very difficult challenges. We are prepared to negotiate around the clock because there are thousands of GM families and their communities — and many thousands more at our dealerships and suppliers — counting on us for their livelihood.”
The UAW represents about 46,000 employees at GM and 150,000 total when adding in representation from Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
During a negotiation year the UAW selects one of the three automakers to target first, the first contact serving as a template for the other two automakers. This year the UAW selected GM as it felt it has the strongest position, largely due to the automaker permanently idling several U.S. assembly plants last year.
At this time it is unclear how long the strike could last. GM’s primary goal from this negotiation is to control costs and remain competitive in an era of significant change within the automotive industry.