GM tells workers it’s time for the strike to end

GM appeals directly to UAW workers: 'The strike has been hard on you, your families ...'

General Motors and the United Auto Workers union clashed late Thursday over how to end a 25-day strike that has cost the company over $1 billion, according to letters seen by Reuters.

The automaker said that on October 7 it presented an updated offer to the UAW, which would increase compensation and preserve health care benefits without raising out-of-pocket expenses.

It also promises billions of dollars worth of investment in USA facilities, creating thousands of new jobs.

"Our members are ready to get back to work, but GM is purposefully stalling the process to starve UAW-GM workers off the picket lines to protect millions of dollars of corporate bonuses".

An ongoing workers' strike at General Motors Co GM.N could cost the automaker about $1.5 billion, brokerage Credit Suisse said on Friday, throwing the USA automaker's cost reduction plans off the track and forcing key suppliers to cut their 2019 outlook.

Details of the Wednesday meeting between Barra and top union bargainers were disclosed in the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

"We have advised the Union that it's critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers", GM Executive Vice President Gerald Johnson wrote in a letter to employees.

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UAW vice-president Terry Dittes, who heads the union's GM department, said in a letter earlier on Thursday evening to GM that the union would not reply to GM's latest proposal until committees discussing five specific issues had completed their work. It said GM's annual costs in wages and benefits are more than $1 billion higher than foreign automakers operating USA plants. The offer also gives workers enhanced profit-sharing with unlimited upside and improves their ratification bonus. The importance of the "future of work" committee underlines what we have been pointing out since the beginning of this strike: "it is more about the future than about the cash".

Earlier this week, the UAW informed membership that one of the key issues was a lack of commitment by GM to build vehicles at US factories.

Both sides are separated on major economic issues such as wages and lump-sum payments and better pensions that will be bargained at the "main table" by top negotiators.

After little headway followed their proposal to UAW brass October 7, Barra invited Dittes and UAW President Gary Jones to meet at the automaker's Detroit headquarters, where bargaining has been taking place.

Dittes said that he did not know when the five issues would be resolved, suggesting a final deal may not be close.

Barra's goal was to get the talks moving again, sources briefed on the matter said. Analysts have estimated lost production has cost the carmaker at least $1 billion of lost profit, and its credit ratings may be at risk.

"The cornerstone of GM's long-term strategy is to be the leader in developing an economically viable operating model that enables investments in battery electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles to be profitable and generate appropriate returns".

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