GM Stocks Trade Down as Strike Nears End of Day One

Nearly 50,000 autoworkers across the country are on strike following a breakdown in negotiations between General Motors and the United Auto Workers union. While GM said negotiations had resumed Monday morning, the strike still continued — and share prices in the automaker were down more than 4 percent at the end of trading.
On Sunday, the UAW announced that the union would walk out to advance better wages, healthcare, job security, greater profit-sharing for workers, and "a defined path to permanent seniority" for temporary workers. The strike — the union's first against GM in a more than a decade — began just before midnight on Sunday.
"We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most. Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our Members, their families and the communities where we work and live," said UAW vice president Terry Dittes in a press release. In an unconventional move, GM publicly revealed details of its offer to the UAW workers, which included a $7 billion investment in eight factories and a commitment to adding 5,400 jobs — a promise that comes after the company said it would close several factories last year.
The automaker said that in addition to improved wages and benefits, and an $8,000 bonus for signing the proposed deal, it is also offering workers the nation's "first union-represented battery cell manufacturing site."
The Teamsters — which represents U.S. truck drivers and other blue-collar workers — will be supporting the UAW strikers' efforts, and will not deliver GM vehicles that require crossing picket line. "Teamsters and the UAW have a decades-long relationship of having each other's back," said the organization's president Jim Hoffa in a statement. "Our 1.4 million members stand in solidarity with the UAW and will honor their picket lines."
"GM is now pretty healthy compared to where it was 10 or 11 years ago. The UAW wants to take advantage of that and get the best possible deal," Todd Lassa, the Detroit Bureau Chief of Automobile Magazine, told Cheddar.
He explained that UAW is using GM to set a standard that it can pursue with other major American automakers. "[It will then] use those contract negotiations as a model for the way they set the contracts for — in this case now — Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler," Lassa said.
He added that while workers are looking for better benefits and wages, they are also concerned by the company's reliance on temporary workers. "Temporary workers help autoworkers better utilize their capacity and increase production when needed, but then bring it down to a regular level when a certain car or truck levels off in terms of its popularity."
UAW workers are entitled to just $250 a week in strike pay. Meanwhile, industry analysts said the strike could cost GM as much as $100 million a day, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Over Twitter, the strikers earned the support of major contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, from former Vice President Joe Biden to Sen. Bernie Sanders. "Our message to GM is a simple one: End the greed, sit down with the UAW and work out an agreement that treats your workers with the respect and the dignity they deserve," said Sanders in a tweet Sunday. That message was also echoed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Sen. Kamala Harris, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
"My grandfather was an assembly line worker and UAW union rep at a Ford plant outside of Detroit. He showed me the power of collective action as a powerful force for good that can improve people's lives and right injustice," said Sen. Cory Booker in his statement endorsing the strike.
Other members of Congress also lent their support, including Sen. Sherrod Brown and Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Cheddar reached out to the Trump re-election campaign, but did not hear back by the time of publication. However, later in the day, the president tweeted: "Here we go again with General Motors and the United Auto Workers. Get together and make a deal!"
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