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    Thread: Auto strike idles more than 50 GM factories and warehouses

    1. 09-16-2019 02:58 PM #1
      https://www.ksl.com/article/46639079...and-warehouses
      By Tom Krisher and Mike Householder, Associated Press

      DETROIT (AP) — More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers went on strike Monday against General Motors, bringing more than 50 factories and parts warehouses to a standstill in the union's first walkout against the No. 1 U.S. automaker in over a decade.

      Workers left factories and formed picket lines shortly after midnight in the dispute over a new four-year contract. The union's top negotiator said in a letter to the company that the strike could have been averted had the company made its latest offer sooner.

      The letter dated Sunday suggests that the company and union are not as far apart as the rhetoric leading up to the strike had indicated. Negotiations resumed Monday in Detroit after breaking off during the weekend.

      But union spokesman Brian Rothenberg said the two sides have come to terms on only 2% of the contract. "We've got 98% to go," he said Monday.

      Wall Street did not like seeing the picketers. GM shares were down 4 percent in afternoon trading to $37.29.

      On the picket line Monday at GM's transmission plant in Toledo, Ohio, workers who said they have been with the company for more than 30 years were concerned for younger colleagues who are making less money under GM's two-tier wage scale and have fewer benefits.

      Paul Kane, from South Lyon, Michigan, a 42-year GM employee, said much of what the union is fighting for will not affect him.

      "It's not right when you're working next to someone, doing the same job and they're making a lot more money," he said. "They should be the making the same as me. They've got families to support."

      Kane said GM workers gave up pay raises and made other concessions to keep GM afloat during its 2009 trip through bankruptcy protection.

      "Now it's their turn to pay us back," he said. "That was the promise they gave."

      UAW Vice President Terry Dittes told GM that the company's latest offer might have made it possible to reach an agreement if it had not come just two hours before the union's contract with GM expired on Saturday night.

      In the letter to Scott Sandefur, GM's vice president of labor relations, Dittes wrote that the company waited too long to make the offer. GM issued a statement saying it wants to reach a deal that builds a strong future for workers and the business.

      Dittes wrote that there are many important items left in the talks, including wage increases, pay for new hires, job security, profit sharing and treatment of temporary workers.

      "We are willing to meet as frequently, and for as long as it takes, to reach an agreement that treats our members fairly," Dittes wrote.

      GM said Sunday it offered pay raises and $7 billion worth of U.S. factory investments resulting in 5,400 new positions, a minority of which would be filled by existing employees. GM would not give a precise number. The company also said it offered higher profit sharing, "nationally leading" health benefits and an $8,000 payment to each worker upon ratification.

      Before the talks broke off, GM offered new products to replace work at two of four U.S. factories that it intends to close.

      The company pledged to build a new all-electric pickup truck at a factory in Detroit, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The person was not authorized to disclose details of the negotiations.

      The automaker also offered to open an electric vehicle battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where it has a huge factory that has already stopped making cars and will be closed. The new factory would be in addition to a proposal to make electric vehicles for a company called Workhorse, the person said.

      It's unclear how many workers the two plants would employ. The closures, especially of the Ohio plant, have become issues in the 2020 presidential campaign. President Donald Trump has consistently criticized the company and demanded that Lordstown be reopened.

      Kristin Dziczek, vice president of labor and industry for the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank, said the letter and resumption of contract talks are encouraging signs. "It makes me think that both sides are probably closer than it might have seemed before," she said.

      But both Dziczek and Art Wheaton, an auto industry expert at the Worker Institute at Cornell University, say GM left out key details when it made part of its offer public, and working out those details could make the strike last longer.

      "I think GM kind of sabotaged some of the negotiations by going immediately to the public," Wheaton said. "It really distorts the offer."

      The strike shut down 33 manufacturing plants in nine states across the U.S., as well as 22 parts-distribution warehouses. It's the first national strike by the union since a two-day walkout in 2007 that had little impact on the company.

      Workers at Fiat Chrysler and Ford continued working under contract extensions. Any agreement reached with GM will serve as a template for talks with the other two companies.
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    3. I need new ones NeverEnoughCars's Avatar
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      09-16-2019 03:05 PM #2
      I am sure there are a lot of people would would be willing to do their job.
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      09-16-2019 03:08 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by NeverEnoughCars View Post
      I am sure there are a lot of people would would be willing to do their job.
      For even less money and benefits. A real triumph for the American worker.

      I think the timing is bad, just as it was last time. I don't think the UAW workers understand how dire GM's situation is right now.

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      09-16-2019 03:50 PM #4
      Good luck to the employees and GM.
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      09-16-2019 04:06 PM #5
      Someone who has worked there for 42 years doesn't understand he should be making more than someone who just recently started?

      I guess union pay doesn't help with common sense.

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      09-16-2019 04:17 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by IdontOwnAVW View Post
      Someone who has worked there for 42 years doesn't understand he should be making more than someone who just recently started?

      I guess union pay doesn't help with common sense.

      Signed,
      A guy that makes more money than he should for doing his part-time union job.
      It's way more complex than that. GM has been bringing in a lot of "temps" who end up working there for years but with no path to regular full time employment. That's really one of the big issues here.

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      09-16-2019 05:07 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by CTK View Post
      I don't think the UAW workers understand how dire GM's situation is right now.
      they only cleared 8.1 billion after tax last year. times are tough, mary's pay even dipped a couple hundred thousand this last year. tighten those belts!

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      09-16-2019 08:24 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by NeverEnoughCars View Post
      I am sure there are a lot of people would would be willing to do their job.
      Actually no, not really. The UAW picked the exact best possible time to strike because the incredibly low unemployment rate means that the pool of available workers is tiny; almost non-existent on the scale of an automaker's total footprint. Times of prosperity and full employment is exactly when to go on strike and seek better pay, benefits, hours, conditions, or whatever. This is so much better than when they went on strike as the economy collapsed and basically forced the company into bankruptcy. That was bad, but this is good. This is quite honestly the exact right time to go on strike for all parties involved.

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      09-16-2019 08:33 PM #9
      The union's top negotiator said in a letter to the company that the strike could have been averted had the workers just worked like they're supposed to.
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      09-16-2019 08:35 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Unilateral Phase Detractor View Post
      It's way more complex than that. GM has been bringing in a lot of "temps" who end up working there for years but with no path to regular full time employment. That's really one of the big issues here.
      i don't see a problem with that. if people aren't happy, they can just go somewhere else.
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      09-16-2019 09:31 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by worth_fixing View Post
      i don't see a problem with that. if people aren't happy, they can just go somewhere else.
      absolutely. Or you can band together and force a company's hand. This has forced better working conditions globally.
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      09-16-2019 09:48 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Tommietank View Post
      absolutely. Or you can band together and force a company's hand. This has forced better working conditions globally.
      Even if it means another bailout?
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      09-16-2019 09:56 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by NeverEnoughCars View Post
      Even if it means another bailout?
      If paying a couple bucks an hour more for the people who actually do the heavy lifting will lead to bankruptcy and a bailout, GM's got worse problems my man.
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      09-16-2019 10:10 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Tommietank View Post
      This has forced better working conditions globally.
      I don't think they are striking for better working conditions.
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      09-16-2019 10:25 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Tommietank View Post
      absolutely. Or you can band together and force a company's hand. This has forced better working conditions globally.
      While they made sense when first created and have done a lot of good in terms of bettering working conditions, I don't see the point anymore. I work with unionized employees and its a real issue. Many take advantage of the system, there's little incentive to be more productive or work hard and it takes forever to get anything done. My uncle's company is being unionized at the moment and its nothing to do with working conditions or pay. It's a few employees spreading false financial results hoping to make more money while doing less.

      Maybe there are examples today proving a unionized environment is still required but I haven't seen any.

      Back to the main topic, I don't understand why auto workers decided to strike. It's pretty clear most auto manufacturers aren't doing well. Would be much more strategic to wait until they have deeper pockets.


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      09-16-2019 10:49 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Silly_me View Post
      I don't think they are striking for better working conditions.
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0_Mazda View Post
      While they made sense when first created and have done a lot of good in terms of bettering working conditions, I don't see the point anymore.

      Perhaps this is all true in certain states/countries/companies. I just have a problem with people having issues with employees striking and or unionizing here. It's an American right. Companies are free to use other forms of labor if they so choose too.
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      09-17-2019 05:27 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Tommietank View Post
      Perhaps this is all true in certain states/countries/companies. I just have a problem with people having issues with employees striking and or unionizing here. It's an American right. Companies are free to use other forms of labor if they so choose too.
      I don't know how it works in the US, but here if employees at a factory decide they want to unionize, there is literally nothing you can do short of closing up shop for good. Unions are killing our workforce and companies will replace them with robots whenever possible, rightfully so. It's almost impossible to be a competitive company in north american anymore if you don't outsource your production elsewhere.
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      09-17-2019 05:33 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by Tommietank View Post
      Perhaps this is all true in certain states/countries/companies. I just have a problem with people having issues with employees striking and or unionizing here. It's an American right. Companies are free to use other forms of labor if they so choose too.
      I'm also of the opinion that if you're unhappy with your job, you can just get up and leave. A mandate to strike should only be used in very dire situations in my opinion. Reading the main arguments in the original post, it just seems like GM is pushing to have more disposable workers. I think its perfectly normal in an industry which is getting increasingly unstable over the years.

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      09-17-2019 07:00 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Unilateral Phase Detractor View Post
      It's way more complex than that. GM has been bringing in a lot of "temps" who end up working there for years but with no path to regular full time employment. That's really one of the big issues here.
      My GM-Union-101 understanding is that GM gets away with some of the same employment practices that gets Amazon dragged across hot coals. The public outcry is oddly two worlds apart.

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      09-17-2019 07:17 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0_Mazda View Post
      While they made sense when first created and have done a lot of good in terms of bettering working conditions, I don't see the point anymore. I work with unionized employees and its a real issue. Many take advantage of the system, there's little incentive to be more productive or work hard and it takes forever to get anything done. My uncle's company is being unionized at the moment and its nothing to do with working conditions or pay. It's a few employees spreading false financial results hoping to make more money while doing less.
      Agree 100%. We have labor laws, OSHA, and other measures now to actually protect workers. Today Unions only serve to protect the lazy, discourage the hard workers and impede productivity.

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      09-17-2019 07:28 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0_Mazda View Post
      While they made sense when first created and have done a lot of good in terms of bettering working conditions, I don't see the point anymore. I work with unionized employees and its a real issue. Many take advantage of the system, there's little incentive to be more productive or work hard and it takes forever to get anything done. My uncle's company is being unionized at the moment and its nothing to do with working conditions or pay. It's a few employees spreading false financial results hoping to make more money while doing less.

      Maybe there are examples today proving a unionized environment is still required but I haven't seen any.

      Back to the main topic, I don't understand why auto workers decided to strike. It's pretty clear most auto manufacturers aren't doing well. Would be much more strategic to wait until they have deeper pockets.

      I don't know if unions are still the answer, but it's pretty clear corporations have the upper hand and use it at their employee's expense. Pay is stagnant and job security is increasingly fleeting. Literally the only reasons companies like Walmart and Amazon are bumping pay is because it makes for good press and they have to pay more to get workers in the current economy.

      So I think for small businesses like your uncle's company unionization makes zero sense. But big corporations have never been more powerful, and workers basically have zero recourse or leverage to negotiate with them. The UAW is complete and total garbage and seems to exist solely to validate anti-union rhetoric.... but these days many big corporations are so flush with cash they literally don't know what to do with it. How about instead of buying back stocks and paying out unsustainable dividends... they reward and invest in their labor?

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      09-17-2019 07:42 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by IdontOwnAVW View Post
      Someone who has worked there for 42 years doesn't understand he should be making more than someone who just recently started?

      I guess union pay doesn't help with common sense.

      Signed,
      A guy that makes more money than he should for doing his part-time union job.
      Some 2 tiered systems are trash. Should an employee whose only been there 3 years make 40% less than one who's been there for 20? Because that's what it's like at nearby Kohler, and many other manufacturing jobs with 2-tier pay scales that didn't exist a decade ago.


      At my non-union job, people reach their top pay scale after 18 months. So, gross pay is about 15% more now than when I started.


      Quote Originally Posted by Unilateral Phase Detractor View Post
      It's way more complex than that. GM has been bringing in a lot of "temps" who end up working there for years but with no path to regular full time employment. That's really one of the big issues here.
      People get suckered into the temp agency where I work, I was fortunate enough to have dealt with one of those several years ago, so I avoided that like the plague. They "say" you only have to be there x months to be hired by the company, but that's a dirty lie.

      I have a difficult time garnering sympathy with companies who rely on temp agencys.
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      09-17-2019 07:47 AM #23
      One word: overcapacity.

      GM does not care about this strike. It allows them to hide their capacity issue and let the union leadership (losership, given the recent scandals) a chance to buff themselves in the eyes of the rank and file.

      If anything, the UAW and GM are dancing together on this one.

      Two weeks of strike now is two weeks of shutdown in May that don't have to happen. Spreads the pain for the suppliers, too.
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      09-17-2019 07:52 AM #24
      Only anecdote I have from a union is from a former co-worker:
      Gets hired to do some IT-related setup in a factory with union jobs. Almost finishes what he's supposed to do, but can't do something (equivalent of rebooting a machine or something) that would have taken him 5 extra minutes because, "That's a union job. You have to let the union guy do it".

      OT: I read that the average UAW salary for full-time (GM at least) is $90,000. I don't know much about factory jobs or what that entails (and sorry if I'm stepping on some toes here), but that seems like a hell of a lot for a factory job in some of these factory towns. That, or maybe I'm just out of the loop.
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      09-17-2019 07:56 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0_Mazda View Post
      I'm also of the opinion that if you're unhappy with your job, you can just get up and leave.
      This is a luxury not everyone has, which is one reason why workers unionized.

      Reading the main arguments in the original post, it just seems like GM is pushing to have more disposable workers. I think its perfectly normal in an industry which is getting increasingly unstable over the years.
      Agree with this part. But imo, it kinda conflicts with the first part of your post.
      =

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