Union votes to strike at General Motors’ US plants

  • Flint resident Jashanti Walker, who has been a first shift team leader in the body shop for two years, demonstrates with more than a dozen other General Motors employees outside of the Flint Assembly Plant on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Flint, Mich. The United Auto Workers union says its contract negotiations with GM have broken down and its members will go on strike just before midnight on Sunday. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

DETROIT — Roughly 49,000 workers at General Motors plants in the U.S. planned to go on strike just before midnight Sunday, but talks between the United Auto Workers and the automaker will resume.

About 200 plant-level union leaders voted unanimously in favor of a walkout during a meeting Sunday morning in Detroit. Union leaders said the sides were still far apart on several major issues and they apparently weren’t swayed by a GM offer to make new products at or near two of the four plants it was planning to close, according to someone briefed on the matter.


“We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most,” said union vice president Terry Dittes in a statement, referring to union concessions that helped GM survive bankruptcy protection in 2009. “Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our members.”

UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said Sunday evening that contract talks would resume at 10 a.m. today, but the strike was still expected to go ahead.

The union said it would strike for fair wages, affordable health care, profit sharing, job security and a path to permanent employment for temporary workers.

In a statement, GM said the offer made Saturday to the union included more than $7 billion in U.S. factory investments and the creation of 5,400 new positions, a minority of which would be filled by existing employees. GM would not give a precise number. The investments would be made at factories in four states, two of which were not identified.


The statement also said the company offered “best in class wages and benefits,” improved profit sharing and a payment of $8,000 to each worker upon ratification. The offer included wage or lump sum increases in all four years of the deal, plus “nationally leading” health benefits.

The announcement came hours after the union let its contract with GM expire Saturday night.

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