Last month, General Motors and the United Auto Workers failed to reach an agreement on a new union contract. Consequently, at midnight on September 15, 2019, over 50,000 GM workers went on strike until they agree on terms with the UAW. This is the first strike against GM in the past twelve years.
The union workers were unhappy with the terms of their previous contract, and, after some negotiation efforts, they were unable to come to an agreement with GM. The workers were requesting higher pay for incoming workers, a faster path to reach $30 an hour, and for GM to invest in factories that are not producing anything.
This strike will hit hard for GM. They are projected to lose approximately $90 million for every day that they are out of operation.
GM has released statements of their counteroffers to the union and believes that there is a lack of cooperation on the union’s part. According to the company, they offered the UAW improved wages, benefits, and increased jobs, and also an $8,000 signing bonus per member if they ratified the deal. They also offered to invest $7 billion into manufacturing new vehicles and electric-car batteries in underutilized or non-functioning factories, which would create approximately 5,400 new jobs.
It seems like the core dispute concerns healthcare. The UAW were demanding more health benefits to employees, while GM was firm on keeping the benefits as they were.
Neither side is willing to give up more ground than they already have, so I do not expect an agreement to arise anytime soon.
Neither side is willing to give up more ground than they already have, so I do not expect an agreement to arise anytime soon. These major strikes will probably depress the economy in areas where GM and manufacturing in general provide employment. Manufacturing cities in states like Ohio and Michigan will be heavily affected by this, as will America as a whole.
Since the strike began, GM stock has dropped 6% and the company has lost a tremendous amount of money. This is significant for the business world but also the world of unions. The duration and hostility of this strike is something that we haven’t seen in a while and could change the relationships between unions and companies in the future. Depending on how, when, or if this strike ends, its impact will be unprecedented for this generation.