Main issues in UAW-GM labor talks narrow to wages, pensions

Main issues in UAW-GM labor talks narrow to wages pensions source

As the USA strike by the United Auto Workers union against General Motors Co GM.N nears three weeks, the main remaining issues in the negotiations have narrowed to wages and pensions, a person familiar with the talks said on Saturday.

John Kirk, right, a 20-year-employee, pickets with co-workers outside the General Motors Fabrication Division, Oct. 4, 2019, in Parma, Ohio.

The main reason, the source says, is because General Motors is refusing to make a commitment to bring back any product lines from Mexico.

On Saturday evening, the union submitted an "extensive proposal package" that "was an effort to move this set of negotiations to the next step", Dittes said in a letter to Scott Sandefur, vice president of labour relations at GM.

Just before the strike began, GM, the largest US automaker by vehicle sales, said that its offer to the UAW included plans to invest more than $7 billion in its USA plants over the life of the deal.

Dittes said the UAW made an offer on Saturday to GM that covered wages, signing bonuses, job security, profit-sharing and other issues.

On Friday, Dittes had said that the talks were making "good progress", although he warned about issues such as health care and employment opportunities for temporary workers, according to news reports.

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"These negotiations have taken a turn for the worse", he said.

"We continue to negotiate in good faith with very good proposals that benefit employees today and builds a stronger future for all of us", GM said in a statement.

The letter from UAW Vice President Terry Dittes casts doubt on whether there will be a quick settlement in the contract dispute, which sent 49,000 workers to the picket lines on September 16, crippling GM's factories.

The company also said it is committed to talking around the clock to resolve the dispute. The union continued contracts with Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, following the customary plan to negotiate a deal with one company to use as a template for the other two. "The law and basic decency require no less", Dittes added.

The strike, meanwhile, has led to GM plant shutdowns outside of the United States, layoffs, and reduced pay for striking workers.

Connoisseurs estimate that the actions have already cost GM more than 1 billion dollars and a production loss of almost 120,000 vehicles until 2 October.

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