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UAW will strike following months-long contract negotiations

Posted at 11:00 AM, Sep 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-16 06:29:41-04

The United Auto Workers union and General Motors have failed to come to a tentative contract agreement, and the UAW announced they will be going on strike.

The union and GM have been negotiating a new contract for months, and on Sept. 3, the UAW selected GM as the first of the Big 3 to begin negotiating.

Also, on Sept. 3, UAW members voted to authorize a strike amid the negotiations, with more than 96 percent of GM UAW workers approving a strike. IT was also 96 percent for Fiat Chrysler and nearly 96 percent for Ford.

In 2015, the union and automakers struck a last-minute deal for a new four-year contract, which did expire at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.

Last year, GM announced plans to close four plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland, which didn’t sit well with the union.

In Northeast Ohio, workers have began striking the GM plant in Parma.

Earlier this year, union leaders and the heads of the Big 3 held ceremonial handshakes to mark the start of contract talks.

During the events surrounding those handshakes, union officials said they considered this their "make up year" where they would recoup some of what they agreed to give up as Chrysler and GM went through bankruptcy. They say the automakers need to share the wealth as they make big profits over the last few years.

However, auto company executives say those profits are offset by expenses as they prep the next generation electric and self driving cars.

The vote also comes amid an FBI, IRS and Department of Labor investigation into bribery allegations among UAW presidents across the country.

Earlier this month, agents raided UAW President Gary Jones' home in Canton Township as part of the nationwide investigation.

Then, this week, a regional director was charged with embezzling funds from the UAW for hundreds of thousands of dollars in golf equipment, cigars, villa rentals and more.

Vance Pearson, the region 5 director, is the 10th person charged in the federal investigation.

General Motors released the following statement about the strike, “We presented a strong offer that improves wages, benefits and grows U.S. jobs in substantive ways and it is disappointing that the UAW leadership has chosen to strike at midnight tonight. We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency. Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business.”

GM says they offered the following items to the union:
· Solutions for unallocated assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio.
· Investments in eight facilities in four states.
· Introduction of all-new electric trucks.
· Opportunity to become the first union-represented battery cell manufacturing site in the U.S.
· Additional new vehicle and propulsion programs.
· Wage or lump sum increases in all four years.
· Improved Profit Sharing Formula.
· Ratification payment of $8,000.
· Retain nationally-leading health care benefits.
· New coverage for autism therapy care, chiropractic care and allergy testing.
· Over $7 billion in investments and more than 5,400 Jobs.