Almost 50000 UAW workers walk off the job at General Motors

UAW Votes For Nationwide Strike To Begin Before Midnight Sunday

The Latest: UAW says 49K members at GM plants will strike

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are uniting behind the 48,000 United Auto Workers who went on strike Monday over a contract dispute with General Motors.

If there is a strike, picketers would shut down a total of 53 GM facilities, including 33 manufacturing sites and 22 parts distribution warehouses.

As UAW vice president Terry Dittes said, "We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most".

GM noted it has offered more than $7 billion in investments in USA and more than 5,400 new jobs.

As GM workers strike, UAW members with Ford and Fiat Chrysler are keeping a close watch.

The four-year contract between General Motors and the United Auto Workers has expired as negotiations on a new deal continue. A more painful strike occurred in Flint, Michigan, in 1998, lasting 54 days and costing the No. 1 US automaker more than $2 billion. Steep discounts were offered to consumers this summer to sell the remaining cars and hatchbacks. It was the first national strike by the UAW since a two-day walkout in 2007. The shares fell as much as 3.4 per cent to US$37.52 shortly after the open of regular trading Monday.

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If the strike commences, about 2,000 Teamsters will refuse to transport GM vehicles to dealerships in a move of solidarity with UAW, said Bret Caldwell, a spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Hours before Sunday's decision to strike, contract maintenance workers walked off the job at GM plants in MI and OH in a parallel dispute with contractor Aramark.

"Now it's their turn to pay us back", he said.

UAW members who show up at the picket line will get $250 a week. This reportedly also includes a solution to keep alive two plants which were condemned for deallocation, the Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown facilities, by allocating new products to the facility.

GM argues that its wages and benefits are among the best in the industry.

"That's how they want to use the working class", he said.

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The union is demanding what it calls fair wages, affordable healthcare and more job security.

GM argues the plant shutdowns are necessary responses to market shifts, and that UAW wages and benefits are expensive compared with competing non-union auto plants in southern USA states.

Late on Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump on Twitter urged the UAW and GM to "get together and make a deal!".

It's unclear how many workers the two plants would employ. But supplies of the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban large SUVs, which generate big money for the company, are well below the industry average.

Earlier in the 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 letter could suggest that the company and union aren't as far apart as the rhetoric leading up to the strike had indicated. Suppliers of parts and services to GM's US operations could also suffer from a long shutdown, as could dealers and consumers. The company showed a pre-tax profit of $10.8 billion in 2018, which down slightly from 2017 figures, but still enough for GM workers to receive a healthy profit-sharing check.

- Union members have great health insurance plans but workers pay about 4% of the cost.

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