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GM tells workers it’s time for the strike to end

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Ginger Lawrence | 11 October, 2019, 21:47

General Motors Co took the unusual step of appealing directly to employees in a blog post on Friday that laid out the terms of the automaker's latest offer aimed at ending a month-long strike, angering the union with which it is negotiating. The company said the offer would increase compensation, preserve health care benefits and commit to new jobs in the U.S.

Dittes called on GM vehicles sold in the U.S. to be built in the USA by UAW workers.

An ongoing workers' strike at General Motors Co GM.N could cost the automaker about $1.5 billion, brokerage Credit Suisse said on Friday, throwing the USA automaker's cost reduction plans off the track and forcing key suppliers to cut their 2019 outlook.

Committees are working on issues such as products for factories that GM wants to close, investments in other US factories, and training for union workers to handle future technology, according to Dittes' letter.

"We have advised the union that it's critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers", he wrote.

GM made a comprehensive offer October 7 to the UAW and hasn't received a response in the days since, despite CEO Mary Barra joining a meeting with union leaders October 9. It said GM's annual costs in wages and benefits are more than $1 billion higher than foreign automakers operating US plants.

Earlier this week, the UAW informed membership that one of the key issues was a lack of commitment by GM to build vehicles at US factories. The offer also gives workers enhanced profit-sharing with unlimited upside and improves their ratification bonus.

"We are committed to the collective bargaining process, and we are committed to our future together", he wrote.

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The two sides held "top table" discussions Friday, in which chief negotiators from both sides meet on company-wide issues.

Job security remains a major issue in negotiations.

Credit Suisse lowered its 2019 earnings per share estimate for GM by 83 cents to $6.11, below the Wall Street consensus of $6.56, according to IBES data from Refinitiv, as the No.1 automaker is also at the risk of losing market share to smaller rivals such as Ford Motor F.N .

Barra visited the negotiation room at the Renaissance Center and spoke face-to-face with UAW President Gary Jones and UAW-GM Vice President Terry Dittes for about an hour.

Dittes said that he did not know when the five issues would be resolved, suggesting a final deal may not be close.

Talks are expected to continue Friday. They have urged GM to build more vehicles in the United States and shift work from Mexico.

GM has announced plans to close four U.S. plants. The company said at the time that it would construct a new electric-vehicle battery factory in Lordstown and build an electric truck in its plant bordering Detroit and the town of Hamtramck.