Contract talks between
General Motors Co.
and the United Auto Workers labor union stalled Sunday morning after making some progress heading into the weekend with new-hire pay, job security and other issues still in contention.
In a Sunday letter to union members,
the UAW’s top bargainer for GM, said talks with the company had taken “a turn for the worse” in part because the union says GM reverted back to a previously rejected proposal with only minor changes.
“The company’s response did nothing to advance a whole host of issues that are important to you and your families!,” Mr. Dittes wrote in the letter. “It did nothing to provide job security during the term of this agreement.”
A GM spokesman said “We continue to negotiate in good faith with very good proposals that benefit employees today and builds a stronger future for all of us. We are committed to continuing discussions around the clock to reach a resolution.”
Mr. Dittes said the union presented GM with a comprehensive proposal that addressed wages, job security, pensions, profit-sharing and other topics Saturday evening, only to receive the company’s counter offer Sunday morning.
The deadlock is the latest sign the now 21-day strike at GM is likely to continue into a fourth week, extending a nationwide walkout that is already the longest at the company since 1970. The work stoppage has halted factory output at more than 30 U.S. plants, stifled production for auto-parts suppliers, resulted in temporary layoffs for thousands of non-UAW factory workers and stopped all of GM’s pickup truck production in North America.
As of Saturday, the biggest remaining issues on the table were shortening the eight-year time period it takes for a new worker at GM to reach full pay of about $30 an hour and providing enhancements to workers’ pensions and 401(k) contributions, according to people close to the talks.
The disparity in pay between veteran workers and newer hires has long upset the union, which has fought for equal pay among members working in auto factories. New hires start out at about $17 an hour and get yearly raises until they reach full pay.
The need to secure jobs during the next contract period, which Mr. Dittes called out specifically in his letter, has been among the UAW’s top demands heading into talks and since calling the strike at GM.
During contract talks, union negotiators typically press the company to make commitments on how much money they’ll invest in U.S. factories and what new models they’ll build in these plants as a way to guarantee existing jobs, as well as create new ones.
The company’s decision in November to indefinitely idle four UAW-represented factories—including assembly plants in Detroit and Lordstown, Ohio—early on drove a wedge between the company and union with UAW leaders criticizing GM for building vehicles in Mexico and what they described as prioritizing profits at the expense of American workers.
GM, in an offer made public shortly after the UAW called the strike three weeks ago, said it had solutions for Detroit and Lordstown, and offered wage increases and plant investments that would create thousands of new jobs.
The Detroit car maker, the U.S.’s largest by sales, had also previously offered to build a battery plant near its assembly facility in Ohio, which would create a few hundred jobs, people close to the talks have said. Additionally, the company still plans to sell the now-shuttered Lordstown, Ohio, plant to an electric truck startup. Workers in the area say they haven’t been satisfied by this offer.
Write to Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com
Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8