UAW strike forces GM to close Mexican pickup truck factory

Strikers at the Detroit Hamtramck plant

Strikers at the Detroit Hamtramck plant

The United Auto Workers rejected another offer from General Motors Co.

Strikers are pushing for temporary workers to get permanent jobs with GM.

Spokesman Dan Flores confirmed that production at the factories in Silao, Mexico, ended on Tuesday morning, affecting 6,000 workers. Both sides were still talking Wednesday.

The exact number of layoffs has yet to be revealed but industry experts said job cuts are already well over thousands.

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The UAW has submitted a counterproposal and is awaiting GM's response, he said.

"We've got to last one more day than them, and I think we're prepared for that", said Gerald Lang, vice-president of a local union at a factory in Orion Township, Michigan, about 40 miles north of Detroit. That person said health care, a key sticking point with union members, would remain the same as it is now.

At the union hall near the Orion plant, where workers make the Chevrolet Bolt electric auto and Sonic subcompact, the union already had to help a couple of members who were "down on their luck", said Louis Rocha, the local president.

Tuesday's update from Dittes came after a long night of negotiations Monday. The Silverado and Sierra models generate most of GM's global profit, according to analyst estimates cited by the Wall Street Journal.

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GM in Mexico said that "for the moment" its three other Mexican plants - in Ramos Arizpe, San Luis Potosi and Toluca - are working normally.

Cornell's Wheaton said both sides are haggling over labor costs that amount to less than 5% of the sticker price of a auto, so he said he sees room for both sides to bargain.

On the picket lines, members have said repeatedly that they want a bigger share of the more than $30 billion in profits that GM has made during the past five years. The U.S. automaker also revealed that the administration had to make the decision due to a components shortage.

The statements on "comprehensive proposals" indicate the talks have shifted into a higher gear as the dispute is taking a toll on both the automaker and striking UAW workers, whose US$250 a week from the union strike fund is a fraction of their normal pay. He said GM has US$82-million a day in lost profit.

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GM truck plants in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Flint, Michigan, already have been closed by the strike by 48,000 UAW members, which began September 16.

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