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: 711787

Reported Deaths: 13252
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion970181723
Lake52028950
Allen39414672
Hamilton34709406
St. Joseph34386543
Elkhart27543433
Vanderburgh22109394
Tippecanoe21967213
Porter18043301
Johnson17600374
Hendricks16873310
Clark12728190
Madison12379337
Vigo12248244
Monroe11535166
LaPorte11258204
Delaware10390184
Howard9712211
Kosciusko9184114
Hancock8031139
Bartholomew7925155
Warrick7709155
Floyd7574176
Wayne6921198
Grant6862171
Boone6584100
Morgan6425138
Dubois6101117
Marshall5819109
Dearborn572076
Cass5706104
Henry5591101
Noble544583
Jackson494672
Shelby481995
Lawrence4351118
Gibson429789
Harrison429371
Clinton421853
Montgomery419387
DeKalb414484
Whitley383239
Huntington380480
Miami374165
Steuben368757
Knox367589
Putnam353660
Jasper352946
Wabash348578
Adams338453
Ripley335769
Jefferson318180
White309254
Daviess290199
Wells286981
Decatur279792
Fayette277362
Greene270685
Posey269533
Scott262053
LaGrange256170
Clay255245
Randolph236780
Washington231931
Spencer228231
Jennings225548
Fountain209845
Sullivan208342
Starke206452
Owen192956
Fulton192440
Jay186629
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178553
Rush170824
Vermillion166543
Franklin166035
Tipton161543
Parke144616
Blackford134131
Pike130934
Pulaski114445
Newton104434
Brown100740
Crawford98114
Benton97613
Martin83315
Warren80215
Switzerland7728
Union70210
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1060119

Reported Deaths: 19033
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1231961360
Cuyahoga1082602072
Hamilton786461170
Montgomery50403998
Summit45799915
Lucas40667768
Butler37904572
Stark31623896
Lorain24375473
Warren23987293
Mahoning21057584
Lake20176365
Clermont19500229
Delaware18198130
Licking16206207
Fairfield15822197
Trumbull15684461
Medina14984259
Greene14782236
Clark13718293
Wood12847185
Portage12503196
Allen11387229
Richland11110198
Miami10579214
Muskingum8734127
Wayne8633209
Columbiana8600226
Pickaway8456121
Marion8421135
Tuscarawas8401240
Erie7672154
Hancock6761124
Ross6734146
Ashtabula6576166
Geauga6568146
Scioto6326101
Belmont5679159
Union561047
Lawrence5483102
Jefferson5389149
Huron5341114
Darke5294121
Sandusky5213120
Seneca5169120
Washington5103108
Athens509856
Auglaize478383
Mercer473885
Shelby460892
Knox4424108
Madison427359
Putnam423199
Ashland415488
Fulton412767
Defiance406696
Crawford3898102
Brown388055
Logan375576
Preble372898
Clinton364660
Ottawa359978
Highland348660
Williams331274
Champaign323257
Jackson309551
Guernsey308949
Perry291149
Fayette278448
Morrow277639
Hardin266364
Henry264966
Coshocton261058
Holmes255199
Van Wert240063
Pike234931
Gallia233346
Adams230452
Wyandot228954
Hocking211459
Carroll189847
Paulding169239
Meigs142138
Noble133137
Monroe129141
Morgan107723
Harrison106136
Vinton81714
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 57°
Angola
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 57°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 56°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 57°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 56°
Patchy frost is expected Thursday night and near seasonable highs are on the way for Friday afternoon.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events