In the United States, surprise strike at General Motors

The United Auto Workers Union calls on the automaker's 31 US plants to stop working to support social bargaining.

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General Motors employees are on strike in Flint, Michigan on September 16th. The US union United Auto Workers (UAW) has called on the US automaker's employees to stop work. JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP

This is a first since 2007 and the collapse of General Motors (GM), two years later, following the great financial crisis. United Auto Workers (UAW) on Sunday (September 15th) called on its 46,000 members to stop work at General Motors' 31 US factories, starting Monday at noon. The slogan was voted unanimously by the union's top executives, as the four-year contract between the Detroit (Michigan) firm and the union expired Saturday night. "We worked with General Motors when she needed us the most. Today, we stand together, united and in solidarity with our members, their families and the communities in which we live and work. "said Terry Dittes, vice-president of the union.

The agreement with GM was supposed to be school with the other two groups in Detroit, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, whose union agreements were briefly extended. "Auto Workers call on all three major builders to recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by UAW members to create a healthy and profitable industry.", claims the union. Unusually, GM responded by presenting management's proposals in a press release – normally, the cards are only revealed when the deal is concluded: among other things, $ 7 billion (€ 6.3 billion) in investments, 5,400 new jobs, a better profit sharing and a $ 8,000 bonus per person upon signing the contract.

Read also General Motors will reduce the number of its employees by 15%

In fact, GM demanded hard work from its employees during the crisis, their pay and their health insurance, even though the following agreements were more generous. Negotiations appear to have crystallized on three topics. First, wages, while GM is the most profitable firm of the three major historic builders (with Ford and Fiat Chrysler) in North America, with $ 11.8 billion in operating profit in 2018 and 10.8% in operating margin in this territory. Second, the health insurance, whose costs fly away and which covers extremely well employees (3% of dependent against 29% for the average US employees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation). In the third, the fate of four factories that General Motors, accused not necessarily to relocate, more than the other two American manufacturers, in Mexico and Canada, is closing in Ohio and Michigan. General Motors' management says it has external or internal reconversion solutions for these plants, including its latest flagship location in Detroit, which would manufacture electric pickups in the future.


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