GM Strike: Over 48,000 Out Of Work. Here’s Where The Talks Are Now.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against GM entered its 22nd day as negotiations stalled Sunday night, forcing even more downtime for over 48,000 full-time and temporary workers.

GM Strike
GM Strike

Topline: The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against GM entered its 22nd day as negotiations stalled Sunday night, forcing even more downtime for over 48,000 full-time and temporary workers. 

  • The strike began September 16. The UAW is pressing GM to shift some factory production from Mexico to the United States in order to create more jobs for Americans, but GM has resisted.
  • Other major issues on the bargaining table includes wage increases and a path to permanent employment at GM for over 4,100 temporary workers.
  • Workers are starting to feel the effects of the strike after missing two paychecks. They are receiving $250 in assistance from UAW for each week of the strike, but that doesn’t fully cover their lost wages.
  • GM has offered to invest $7 billion in the United States in a plan that would create 2,700 jobs and preserve an additional 2,700. The carmaker also said it would open a battery plant in Ohio using union workers.
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, GM is adapting to changing consumer preferences from gas to electric cars. The UAW is concerned about job guarantees, especially since it takes fewer workers to produce electric cars.
  • GM and UAW appeared close to an agreement on October 5, but GM rejected the union’s newest proposal the following day. UAW chief negotiator Terry Dittes described it as “a turn for the worse” in a Sunday letter to union members.

Surprising fact: GM is losing between $50 million and $100 million for every day the strike continues, according to the Wall Street Journal. JPMorgan Chase estimated GM’s total loss at more than $1 billion over the strike’s first two weeks.

What to watch for: Whether GM caves to UAW’s request to shift factory production from Mexico to the U.S. One of the company’s Mexican factory produces the Chevrolet Blazer, a midsize SUV. According to the New York Times, the decision to build the Blazer outside the U.S. rankled UAW, because that car can be made profitably Stateside. And GM has another high-profile critic to contend with: President Trump, who has made his anti-foreign-manufacturing stance very well known.

What we don’t know: When the strike will end or if laid-off workers will return to their jobs. “We continue to talk at the table today,” said UAW spokesperson Brian Rothenberg in an emailed statement to Forbes.

Key background: The UAW made wage and benefits concessions to GM during the 2009 financial crisis, according to the Washington Post. Critics say that the union helped save GM during a time when the iconic carmaker was on the edge of extinction. GM crawled back from the edge, posting over $35 billion in profit since 2015.


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