The United Auto Workers strike at General Motors (NYSE: GM) continues, but so do the negotiations. Nearly 50,000 union workers walked off their jobs on Sept. 15, starting a nationwide strike. Now, sources are saying some headway has been made at the negotiating table.
UAW vice president Terry Dittes sent an update to members that said “all unsettled proposals are now at the Main Table and have been presented to General Motors, and we are awaiting their response.” The statement continued, “This back and forth will continue until negotiations are complete.”
In a significant reversal, General Motors has agreed to continue to pay for the health coverage of the striking workers. After the union went on strike, GM said that the health care costs of the striking workers would be the responsibility of the union. While UAW leaders had anticipated picking up those costs at some point through the strike fund, the speed of the move blindsided them and the striking workers.
In its announcement, GM wrote that it “has chosen to work with our providers to keep all benefits fully in place for striking hourly employees, so they have no disruption to their medical care, including vision, prescription and dental coverage. If they have an insurance claim, they should submit it. GM will continue to provide them the coverage they rely on given the circumstances.” There was no end date noted in the announcement.
GM and the union are in disagreement over whether GM workers deserve a bigger slice of the company’s profits. The workers are striking for higher pay, an improved pension, the continuation of their health insurance plan, and the retention of four plants slated to close in Maryland, Ohio, and Michigan. GM has argued that its offer “includes improved wages and health care benefits, over $7B in U.S. investments, and 5,400 jobs.”