UAW reports progress, even after GM cut off health care for striking workers

UAW demonstration | Joe Brusky, Flickr

Union officials with the United Auto Workers (UAW) say they’re making progress on contract talks as more than 40,000 General Motors workers wind down their first week of a national strike. 

“I can report to you that as of today, some progress has been made, but there are still many of our Memberships’ issues that remain unresolved,” UAW-GM Vice President Terry Dittes wrote in a letter on Thursday to workers. 

“Your elected Bargaining Committee and the UAW International Staff have been working long hours each day for weeks negotiating on our Members’ behalf,” Dittes wrote. “The process of meeting in subcommittees and main tables will continue this weekend and beyond, if a Tentative Agreement is not reached.”

UAW wants GM jobs returned to Michigan from overseas, ready for long strike

The Detroit News reported that those talks had resumed Friday morning and noted that the strike pay rate of $250 per week — considerably less than workers make when on the job — kicks in next week, placing financial pressure on many on the picket lines.

Also adding to that pressure: GM cut off striking workers’ health care this week. The UAW has opted to pick up the costs of COBRA, according to reports, with an official telling the Detroit Free Press it was a “scare tactic..” 

GM has not commented about talks. As the strike appears to be moving into a second week, GM supplier Nexteer is reportedly looking at layoffs. 

UAW strike against GM reaches Day 2 as Trump could side with union

Meanwhile, the UAW continues to face its own corruption scandals. The Detroit News reported this week that the union’s embattled president, Gary Jones, who is caught up in a federal investigation of embezzled dues, is facing a possible “mutiny” from top lieutenants. 

Despite the challenges for all parties, UAW’s Dittes aimed to reassure  workers that a strike is the correct move. 

“This strike is for all the right reasons: to raise the standard of living of our Members and their families and for workers across this country, to achieve true job security, our fair share of the profits, affordable health care and a path to permanent seniority for temporary members,” Dittes wrote in his Thursday letter.

Nick Manes
Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here