At General Motors, a strike against Mexican factories

The group's CEO, Mary Barra, secretly met with the unions to try to break the stalemate.

Time to Reading 4 min.

Subscribers article

General Motors unionized workers protest in Parma, Ohio, Friday, October 4.
General Motors unionized workers protest in Parma, Ohio, Friday, October 4. Tony Dejak / AP

An increase in wages is not enough, it is still necessary that the employment is guaranteed by a durable production on the soil of the United States. This is, basically, the real subject of the strike of employees General Motors (GM), which has been paralyzing the Detroit firm since Monday, September 16. Negotiations broke down when the company management refused to make any commitment on the location of production.

"The economic gains of an agreement are worthless, if there is no job security"On Tuesday, October 8, Terry Dittes, vice-president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, wrote. "GM vehicles sold here must be produced here. " The 46,000 employees on strike will not touch, Friday, their pay for the second half in a row and will have to be satisfied with the 250 dollars (227 euros) per week paid by their union. The company, which sees more than thirty production sites blocked, it would, she, lost 1 billion dollars (908 million euros) in the case, and is forced to put out of work some of its Mexican factories, out of spare parts.

The crisis is affecting auto subcontractors, who have reduced payrolls or laid off 75,000 workers, threatening the growth of the Great Lakes region in the northeastern United States. For the first time, Wednesday, October 9, GM CEO Mary Barra secretly met with the unions in Detroit, Michigan to try to unblock the situation, with nothing to filter the negotiations.

Three challenges

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also "The strike of 1936 haunts the memory of the syndicalists of General Motors"

Back on this strike, the first since the great financial crisis of 2008, which had pushed GM to bankruptcy. The group had been bailed out by the Obama administration and had sacrificed employees. More than ten years later, the Detroit firm is apparently prosperous. The strike was triggered as the quadrennial pay agreement expired a year after management announced a major restructuring of its US production in cold weather.

This involves the closure of four US factories and the elimination of 15,000 jobs. General Motors faces three challenges: the massive investments to be made in the driverless car and electric motors, which will require much less labor; the likely reversal of the automobile environment, which has already hit China; and, finally, global competition, while GM suffers from a cost problem.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here