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Home / Business / The risk of car workers' strike increases with GM contract expiring at midnight

The risk of car workers' strike increases with GM contract expiring at midnight



General Motors is working to avoid its first walkout in a dozen years if negotiations between the carmaker and United Auto Workers do not produce a new contract until the existing agreement expires at midnight Saturday.

If the disputed conversations turn positive, the current agreement could be temporarily extended, even though an 11-hour agreement seems unlikely today.

"No one wins with strikes," said auto analyst and founder of RebeccaDrives.com Rebecca Lindland to Yahoo Finance. "GM says:" We have competitive pressure. "They've actually found a lot of jobs for workers in the factories that are scheduled to close, so they feel they have done a lot for the union and the union says: & # 39; But we want more. & # 39;"

agreement between GM and UAW will set the tone for contract negotiations with the rest of Detroit's Big Three manufacturers, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, she added.

Much has changed since the last round of negotiations between UAW and GM in 201

5, with the automotive industry among the hardest hit by the Trump administration's trade war with China and the rise of new industrial competitors from Tesla to Rivian and Waymo.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle is GM's idle at four factories in Michigan, Maryland and Ohio, which have conspired to fight at all costs. Members of the work organization also want a salary increase starting from $ 17 to $ 30 per hour under the existing contract.

General Motors employees build a crossover SUV at GM Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant in Michigan in March 2010. (Photo by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

UAW members want to maintain their plum health care, requiring Members only have to pay 3 percent of the cost out of pocket. In comparison, the average member of the American workforce pays 28 percent, and salaried non-UAW-represented car workers pay 20 percent to 30 percent, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

"Healthcare stands alone as not only the most costly benefit on an hourly basis, but also the benefit that has the most significant cost increasing year by year," Kristin Dziczek, vice president at the Center for Automotive Research, wrote on the organization's website Monday. [19659002] GM and other automakers are pushing to bring benefits and salaries for union members closer to those of non-members.

On average, GM pays its factory workers an average of $ 63 an hour, the highest of the three major automakers. Ford pays $ 61 an hour and Fiat Chrysler offers $ 55. Non-union workers in US factories of foreign automakers earn an average of $ 50 an hour.

"In a time of solid profitable operation, automakers are seeking to contain labor cost growth while UAW wants to make financial gains and secure its members' jobs and future earnings," Dziczek added.

With such different demands was the spectrum of a strike after 11:59 pm Saturday night is very big.

UAW is already planning to ask GM caretaker workers to quit their job this weekend, as the union's contract with caretaker provider Aramark is set to expire at the same time as the agreement with GM.

Slowing US vehicle sales and a federal investigation into a multimillion-dollar bribery program involving UAW executives, including President Gary Jones, has calmed this year's talks even further.

"It puts further pressure on a strike so members say, 'Who are you really negotiating for,'" said Lindland. "That scandal actually puts more pressure on better representation, and for union members means better representation to join. strike and get a better contract. "

UAW has also prioritized job expansion, with the union's goal of increasing its membership proving a particular point of contention with GM brass.

While Fiat Chrysler and Ford have increased the number of union representatives workers significantly on wages in recent years, GM has not followed, choosing to reduce passenger car production next to and increase it in Mexico.GM's increasing use of temporary workers, who receive far fewer benefits and lower wages, also disrupts the talks.

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Should contract talks continue to stagnate, a walkout may be unavoidable, however, the work will probably be short-term, o g will not affect potential car buyers.

"Right now we have a good amount of inventory at retailer lots, so consumers should really not feel any impact," Lindland said. "Where we will start to feel influence is if it continues, and suddenly we will not send cars to dealerships."

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