General Motors is dropping $90 million a day, and thousands of auto employees are draining their savings. However, there’s no end in sight for the most prolonged auto workers’ strike in decades.
As the GM strike enters its fourth week, company officials and union negotiators are still fighting about wages, retirement benefits, and the destiny of an idled Chevy factory in Lordstown, Ohio. Nearly 50,000 employees are still on strike, picketing outside GM factories throughout the US.
While both sides have made some progress during the contract talks union leaders, say worker health insurance premiums won’t go up. So they’ve created a path for temporary factory employees to get permanent jobs bargaining over pay and job security got so heated over the weekend that it spilled into the public.
“You didn’t even have a professional courtesy to clarify why you cannot accept or why you rejected our package proposal for each item we addressed,” Terry Dittes, Director of the United Auto Workers union at GM, wrote in an email Sunday to company management, which he then posted online. “We expect the Company to reply and discuss the package proposal we offered yesterday. The law and basic decency require no less.”
A spokesperson for GM declined to comment Tuesday on the dispute however gave the next statement to Vox: “We proceed to negotiate in good faith with excellent proposals that benefit employees at present and build a stronger future for all of us. We’re committed to continuing discussions around the clock to resolve.”
The outcome of the negotiations has the potential to extend far beyond GM factories. The contract will lay the foundation for upcoming union talks with Ford and Fiat Chrysler too. And what employees get from in the deal will reflect how much bargaining power US factory employees have in a period of globalization.