Nearly 50,000 UAW workers go on strike against GM, America's biggest automaker

The United Auto Workers union went out on strike against General Motors Sunday night, the first work stoppage in the US auto industry in 12 years.

Posted: Sep 16, 2019 9:11 AM
Updated: Sep 25, 2019 2:56 PM

The United Auto Workers union went out on strike against General Motors Sunday night, the first work stoppage in the US auto industry in 12 years.

RELATED CONTENT: UAW ON STRIKE AGAINST GM 2019 FULL COVERAGE

The union's 48,000 hourly workers walked out at 31 GM factories and 21 other facilities, spread across nine states, mostly in the center of the country. It's the largest strike by any union against any business since the last strike at GM in 2007.

The strike started at 11:59 pm Sunday night. The two sides did not formally meet Sunday after the union declared its intention to strike at a morning press conference, although union spokesman Brian Rothenberg said that the dialogue between the two sides was ongoing. A new meeting of the two sides is set for 10 a.m. Monday.

The union said that GM was putting profits ahead of employees who helped to turn the company around when it went through bankruptcy and federal bailout a decade ago.

The company said it made a substantial offer that includes improved pay and profit sharing for union members, along with investment to bring new jobs. It also promised a "solution" for two of the four plants currently slated for closure: one in Detroit and another in Lordstown, Ohio.

The company did not say what the solution would be. But a person familiar with GM's offer said it included a promise to build a new electric truck at Detroit Hamtramck, and to build new batteries for electric vehicles in Lordstown. That work wouldn't start immediately, so the plants would likely remain dark for some time. Work would start sometime in the next four years if the offer is accepted.

A source close to the UAW with direct knowledge of negotiations said most of the proposals the company disclosed publicly on Sunday came very late in negotiations Saturday.

GM announced plans in November of 2018 to shut the Detroit and Lordstown assembly plants, along with transmission plants in Baltimore and Warren, Michigan.

The UAW has vowed that keeping the plants open would be a key bargaining demand. Late Saturday it said while there had been progress in the talks there was still "significant differences between the parties on wages, health care benefits, temporary employees, job security and profit sharing."

GM says its average hourly employee earns about $90,000 per year, not including benefits. But the number of hourly workers at GM has declined sharply in recent decades, due to a combination of automation, lost market share and outsourcing. But GM still builds the overwhelming majority of cars it sells in the US market in North America. And it has far more factories in the United States than it does in Mexico or Canada.

The union had earlier extended the contracts at two other US automakers with UAW contracts, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, as it targeted GM in an effort to reach a deal that would set a pattern for the industry. The union announced late Saturday while membership would work past the original 12:01 a.m. ET contract expiration early Sunday, there would be no long-term extension of the contract at GM if the two sides did not reach a deal on Sunday.

All three automakers are dealing with slower sales and the need to make huge multi-billion-dollar investments in developing electric and self-driving vehicles that have more long-term potential than current market demand.

It was the need to save money for those efforts that GM halted operations at three US plants — including the assembly line in Lordstown, and announced plans to shut the Hamtramck plant, its last Detroit factory, early next year.

But negotiations come as the union is hit by a scandal involving misappropriation of union funds, and in some cases, union officials accepting bribes from officials at Fiat Chrysler. Nine people associated with the union or Fiat Chrysler have already pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Last week, the Detroit News reported the union's president, Gary Jones, was the unnamed union official identified in the most recent indictment as "UAW Official A." The union has not responded to a request for comment about that report.

Experts say the scandal will make it more difficult to get rank and file union members at the automakers to ratify any tentative deal reached by union leadership. Four years ago the deals all passed by only narrow margins, even though there was no scandal at that time.

The last strike 12 years ago lasted only three days, but some strikes against GM in the past have stretched on for months. For many of the employees hired since 2007, this is their first work stoppage.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 614946

Reported Deaths: 9807
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion849231342
Lake45784693
Allen33103560
Hamilton29752316
St. Joseph27572383
Elkhart24496346
Vanderburgh19679255
Tippecanoe18150144
Johnson15234296
Porter14970172
Hendricks14550253
Madison11071223
Clark10852145
Vigo10819185
Monroe9496115
Delaware9193136
LaPorte9173164
Howard8325148
Kosciusko811485
Warrick683399
Hancock6783106
Bartholomew6659100
Floyd6522113
Wayne6194164
Grant6050118
Dubois559081
Boone557968
Morgan551996
Henry512365
Marshall507884
Dearborn488745
Cass487864
Noble476159
Jackson428747
Shelby423381
Lawrence395180
Clinton375845
Gibson375560
Harrison354046
DeKalb351365
Montgomery349754
Knox337839
Miami325244
Steuben315846
Whitley313126
Wabash306951
Adams303636
Ripley301646
Putnam299152
Huntington295760
Jasper293035
White275943
Daviess271776
Jefferson267738
Decatur249983
Fayette249949
Greene242763
Posey241828
Wells237551
LaGrange230363
Scott227939
Clay225032
Randolph215848
Jennings200937
Spencer193622
Sullivan193633
Washington189023
Fountain185227
Starke177044
Jay168723
Owen168338
Fulton165430
Orange161035
Carroll160616
Rush156418
Perry156129
Vermillion150034
Franklin149933
Tipton134433
Parke13098
Pike118826
Blackford112023
Pulaski97937
Newton92621
Brown88835
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin75013
Warren6867
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4967
Unassigned0375

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 872918

Reported Deaths: 10856
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102616707
Cuyahoga868931154
Hamilton65148455
Montgomery43662420
Summit35411766
Lucas31794634
Butler31451232
Stark26247445
Warren19939144
Lorain19378229
Mahoning17561339
Lake16350161
Clermont16235113
Delaware1463881
Licking13453142
Fairfield1301782
Trumbull12980317
Greene12226144
Medina11798169
Clark11094266
Wood10507158
Allen10031128
Portage9514111
Richland9275134
Miami927273
Marion7512113
Tuscarawas7455186
Columbiana7433124
Pickaway735250
Muskingum714042
Wayne7140172
Erie6253130
Ross5589100
Hancock556292
Scioto545365
Geauga518955
Darke474395
Lawrence464658
Union459130
Ashtabula457973
Sandusky440462
Huron435541
Mercer435590
Seneca435366
Auglaize425166
Belmont423948
Jefferson423969
Shelby422923
Washington396340
Athens38619
Putnam379276
Madison359930
Knox358423
Ashland349638
Fulton341744
Defiance336188
Crawford327274
Preble323637
Brown318821
Logan314835
Ottawa297443
Clinton293944
Highland282219
Williams282267
Jackson266145
Guernsey259326
Champaign254628
Fayette241030
Morrow23594
Perry235518
Holmes227274
Henry222954
Hardin217033
Coshocton208023
Van Wert204445
Gallia200126
Wyandot198151
Pike180918
Adams179815
Hocking174024
Carroll158216
Paulding145521
Noble121040
Meigs110324
Monroe103433
Harrison89821
Morgan84531
Vinton71714
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 18°
Angola
Mostly Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 11°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 26° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 18°
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 18°
Lima
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 16°
More Clouds than Sun Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events