FLINT (WJRT) (14/14/2019) – A tentative agreement in the strike from General Motors may be imminent, sources say.
United Auto Workers members have a small fire in a fire shelf at their picket line outside the General Motors Flint Engine Operations facility.
Leaders of United Auto Workers from General Motors facilities across the country have been called to a national meeting at the Renaissance Center in Detroit at 1[ads1]0am on Thursday.
The meeting is a good sign that a tentative agreement can be very close, sources say.
All local union presidents and chairmen have been called to the UAW National General Motors Council Meeting about what would be a full month after the strike began.
An agenda for the meeting posted by UAW Local 598 lists "contract update and any other agenda items to be determined." Union leaders in Central Michigan could not comment on whether a preliminary agreement was reached.
Nearly 49,000 UAW members have been on strike since September 16, more than four weeks ago. They are anxious to get back to work, but only if it is a fair contract.
The workers received a slight increase in union wages of $ 25 per week, allowing them to raise $ 275 a week. Trade union leaders also allow strikers to get part-time jobs as long as they follow the fence duty.
After some optimism late last week, workers who staked outside the Flint production facility on Monday openly wondered if the strike wage increases and the federal concession was a bad bargain for negotiations.
"Is the strike longer? Is that why you pay us the extra $ 25? Or is the strike fund available, and we can afford to give you an extra $ 25," said UAW Local 598 member Adam Krieger. "We're left in the dark."
He said many of his trade union brothers and echoes echo the same question. But he said all they can do is support each other.
Krieger has worked at GM's Flint Engine Operations for 19 years, helping support his children ages 5 and 2. He said life has been pretty hectic the last month with a lot of anxiety and a lot of stress.
Krieger is hoping that the long wait for a contract will be worth the fight.
"I think we deserve what we ask for. I don't think we are greedy or irrational as far as our demands," he said. "You have a company that makes the kind of profit that General Motors makes and that you can't afford to give us what we want? We want job security, we want a sale for our temporary workers. We don't ask for unreasonable things, I don't think so. "
As the strike draws on, University of Michigan-Flint economics professor Chris Douglas said he is shocked that it will continue for so long. He said GM and the union have other options to bring workers back, but he doesn't think they will be used.
Douglas said the two sides could bring in a broker to help broker a deal.
"A broker cannot reach an agreement by himself, so if the two sides cannot reach an agreement, there is no guarantee that a broker cannot reach an agreement either," he said.
Douglas said they could streamline the negotiations by allowing UAW President Gary Jones and General Motors CEO Mary Barra to speak one by one.
"But it is not clear what they will offer that dealers do not already offer – that the CEO has not already given direction to leading dealers. For General Motors on what they would be willing to accept versus not accept," said Douglas.
He believes the UAW could also switch target companies from GM to Ford or Chrysler for the rest of the negotiation cycle. Whatever agreement the union receives from another car manufacturer, it will then be the basis for an agreement with GM.
"The problem with that is that it will even prolong the work stoppage of General Motors, which will hurt UAW members even more when it comes to spending several weeks at $ 275 a week in strike pay," Douglas said.
He sees no other way to solve the differences between both sides without having problems. But Douglas remembers some of these options that were used in the 1950s and 1960s, when strikes were more common.
UAW's work stoppage grew over the weekend, when approximately 3,500 employees of Mack Trucks in three states over fair wages, benefits and job protection.
A statement from the company says it is surprised and disappointed that the union decided to strike instead of letting work continue through negotiations.