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Jeff Rathburn of Local 598 and a GM Flint Assembly Plant driver talk about the strike.
Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press

Dealers at UAW and General Motors were at it until about 3 o'clock Thursday before heading out to resume and resume mid-morning calls.

It was the first late night work since the union went on strike at 16.01, September 16, said people near the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Senkveld is a positive sign, but not an assurance that a tentative agreement is imminent. Only the subcommittees negotiated and worked until the early hours of the morning. Top dealers had not met at the main table late in the morning on Thursday.

Gary Henrion, 47, and Victor Hayworth, 61, walked the early morning picket line at the body shop gate at GM Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant Thursday, October 10 – the 25th day of the national strike by the maker. (Photo: Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press)

This is the fourth week since 46,000 GM workers went on strike nationwide. On Monday, GM came up with a new contract proposal. Those close to the talks said the union was still working to respond.

Colin Lightbody, a former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor dealer, said that the long session seems to be a step in the right direction, but not a slam dunk.

“It's usually the head table you want to see go deep. in the evening, "Lightbody said. "But the fact that subcommittees meet until early morning is a good sign."

Lightbody was FCA's director of labor economics until he retired in 2018. He is now president of HR & Labor Guru Inc., a consulting firm in Windsor, Ontario. He spent 20 years with the FCA and worked on five national negotiations in the United States and seven in Canada with the autoworker unions.

"It is my understanding that UAW has not responded to GM's last contract offer submitted on Monday morning. At this stage of the game, one can expect that if the parties close for a deal that offers and opponents will be traded for a few hours , not for a few days. "

He said he remains positive because," at least the two parties are still talking. "

The protracted strike takes a toll on GM, strikers and the associated community. estimates that as many as 100,000 workers have been laid off, facing pay cuts or otherwise harmed by the extended strike against GM.

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Some car dealers have reported difficulties in getting parts to repair cars, with GM estimated to have lost about $ 1 billion so far, though estimates vary widely. of the week from the UAW strike fund.

One of the remaining problems is a critical and complex solution: job security, they said close to the talks. UAW wants assurance that GM will build future vehicles, especially gasoline-powered cars, in US facilities.

More: Key point: GM and UAW contrary to what will be done in America

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But GM pays a far greater labor cost in the United States than in Mexico, in order for it to be viable and competitive, it has said it must build some cars in Mexico. Labor experts say that workers in Mexico start at $ 1.90 an hour in GM's factories there. Production of UAW workers in the United States starts at $ 17 an hour and can earn $ 28 after eight years.

The union became angry in November when GM said it would not allocate new vehicles to two US assembly plants, Lordstown in Ohio and Detroit-Hamtramck, and no future transmission facility work in Warren and Baltimore. Lordstown and its transmission facilities are idle; Detroit-Hamtramck will operate at a reduced level until January

"Many UAW people who were in Lordstown, Detroit-Hamtramck, Warren and Baltimore transmission facilities are now in other UAW locals because they were transferred when idling , "said a person familiar with the negotiations. "So when it comes to ratification, job security is important because these people feel it. It hits close to home."

Late Tuesday, UAW's main dealer with General Motors, Terry Dittes, told union members that GM has not shown a "solid commitment" to building vehicles in US factories that the union considers the key to job security.

"On day 23 of our strike, this still remains as one of our top agenda items with little progress to report," Dittes said.

The letter added, "We have made it clear that there is no job security for us when GM products are manufactured in other countries for the purpose of selling them here in the United States. We believe that the vehicles GM sells here should be built here. We do not understand GM's opposition to this proposal. "

Contact Jamie L. LaReau at 313-222-2149 or jlareau@freepress.com . Follow her on Twitter @ jlareauan . Read more on General Motors and sign up for our car newsletter .

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