UAW members strike, demand better wages, affordable quality health care

WASHINGTON (FOX NEWS) -- United Auto Workers members will begin a strike at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night after the union and General Motors failed to reach a new labor agreement ahead of Sunday’s midnight deadline, UAW vice president Terry Dittes said.

UAW-represented janitors were the first to go on strike early Sunday.

"UAW helped rebuild General Motors when they were near extinction, now they’ve reached record level profits," the union said in a statement Sunday. "If GM refuses to give even an inch to help hard-working UAW members and their families then we’ll see them on the picket lines tonight."

Bloomberg's Best Photos 2014: Bob King, president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), is silhouetted as he stands at the podium during the UAW 36th Constitutional Convention at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, June 4, 2014.

The roughly 850 janitors, who are employed by Aramark but represented by the UAW, walked off the job at eight GM plants in Michigan and Ohio after the two sides failed to come to terms on a contract extension following 18 months of negotiations. Major concerns for the janitors range from caps on health insurance and wages to vacation time and 401(k) plans, according to the union.

“We have contingency plans in place to cover any potential disruptions,” GM said in response to the janitors strike.

The Detroit Free Press reported that union-represented GM workers “reluctantly” crossed picket lines Sunday set up by the UAW after the union told its autoworkers to report for work on Sunday in spite of the Aramark strike.

But after a 10 a.m. meeting, Dittes announced the decision to strike.

“While we are fighting for better wages, affordable quality health care, and job security, GM refuses to put hard working Americans ahead of their record profits of $35 billion in North America over the last three years. We are united in our efforts to get an agreement our members and their families deserve.”

On the other side of the table, GM said they are prepared to “negotiate around-the-clock” until a tentative labor agreement is reached.

“We continue to work hard on solutions to some very difficult challenges. We are prepared to negotiate around the clock because there are thousands of GM families and their communities — and many thousands more at our dealerships and suppliers — counting on us for their livelihood," General Motors said in a statement.

The UAW represents nearly 150,000 employees at GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler. The deal with General Motors will set a template for upcoming contract negotiations with Ford and Fiat Chrysler.

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9 comments

  • C

    Grossly overpaid with benefits for what they do already. But, as always, they’ll go on strike at the drop of a hat, regardless of the impact it’ll have on their employer and the economy as a whole.

  • stop the madness

    A lot of people would give their right eye to work for GM’s wages and benefits. Not having worked there I wouldn’t try to guess what all their concerns are. I know I don’t blame the union workers for poorly designed vehicles by overpaid engineers. I really doubt the cost of cars would go down even if wages and benes were cut. Besides, the more the “grunts” get paid the more management gets paid and I don’t think that hurts their feelings. Blaming a strike solely on the UAW doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  • Sillyoldme

    So, they invest in jobs and plants, but have cut pensions and now want to cut profit sharing/401 programs. To those who think current newer GM employees are still cash cows, think again. Most other employers now have higher benefits and wages than GM employees, including those working in Wyoming under a watered down contact. White collar makes out like cash cows, not blue collar.

    • Monica

      Yeah but the other companies are not paying all their ex employees a very good pension wage to be retires. I am sure that is a whole lot of many getting shelled for no production in return.

  • Kevin

    Fire them and move there jobs overseas they can put down their picket sign and go rally around the unemployment office if i don’t think my job pays enough it’s up to me to apply and work toward something better. These people can’t just expect more money and not take on any additional work load GM is not a Not for Profit operation and these employees are foolish

  • rg

    GM pays $63 per hour in wages and benefits compared with $50 other factories. Union members have great health insurance plans and workers pay about 4 percent of the cost. Employees at large firms nationwide pay about 34 percent, And the greedy union wants more!!

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