DETROIT (WJRT) (10/11/2019) - The United Auto Workers issued a statement calling on General Motors to stop trying to "play games" during the 26-day strike and negotiate in good faith.
The UAW statement released at midday Friday says the company "has not taken the issue of our more than 48,000 members seriously." The union says GM has tried to "undermine" its efforts before and during the strike.
"The company’s strategy from day one has been to play games at the expense of the workers," the UAW statement says.
The union accuses GM of releasing "half-truths," taking away workers' health insurance and reverting to previous proposals the union has rejected during negotiations.
"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," the UAW says.
The union statement came a few hours after GM issued a statement saying it wants to reach a fair and worthy agreement to end the strike and believes its latest offer handed to the UAW on Monday achieved "mutual objectives."
The GM statement says the company's offer would "increase compensation through wages and lump sum payments, preserve industry-leading health care benefits without increasing out-of-pocket costs, enhance profit-sharing with unlimited upside and improve the ratification bonus."
The union says it continues working to secure a stable future for GM employees, but the company's tactics are causing suffering across the country.
The strike started on Sept. 16 involving about 48,000 UAW members. They are seeking better pay, health benefits, job security and a clear path for temporary workers to obtain full-time positions.
“When I started, I made fourteen dollars and twelve cents an hour,” said Ben Wells of Lake Orion. “I worked directly across the line from a woman who made $28. We did the exact same job — and she had a full pension.”
The UAW reiterated its stance that union members sacrificed to help GM when the company fell on hard times financially during the 2009 recession and filed for bankruptcy. Now they want GM to return the favor.
"It’s time GM stops playing games and starts believing in and investing in the future of our members," the UAW says.
It also promises billions of dollars worth of investment in U.S. facilities, creating thousands of new jobs. Temporary GM workers would get a clear path to permanent jobs and a ratification bonus.
"We have advised the Union that it’s critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers," GM's letter says. "We are committed to the collective bargaining process, and we are committed to our future together."