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Home / Business / GM and the striking UAW workers are preparing for a long fight

GM and the striking UAW workers are preparing for a long fight

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Both United Auto Workers and General Motors are preparing for a long strike, factory workers in Lordstown, Ohio want to build a car, European automakers are still crazy about Brexit and much more in the morning shift Monday, 23 September 2019.

1. Gang: Who will back down first?

There's a lot to say about the ongoing GM strike, so I'll try to pick a few key points. But the important thing is that it might take a while, and both sides are getting ready for this result.

The last time the workers of GM went on strike was in 2007, and the action lasted only two days in September. Even as a global recession loomed and GM's bankruptcy was imminent in less than two years, that time is far more serious if you ask the strikers about the pick-me-up on the seventh day of the strike.

After all, GM is a very profitable company nowadays. However, it is one that will continue to shut down plants in the US and shift shipbuilding jobs to other countries as it prepares for a possible economic downturn and a massively uncertain future transformation of the entire auto industry. For the striking workers, it's about securing their present and their future.

Health costs are one of the key issues. UAW workers pay far less than most Americans for their individual contributions to health plans, and GM wants this to increase, but employees say the dangers of their work make their current plan a necessity. About CNBC:

After a dozen years as a car mechanic, Hall said that the generous healthcare that companies provide to UAW employees, who only spend 3% on their own pocket, is a necessity.

"I have Carpal Training Tunnel, Heel Spur and I have been in physiotherapy for my shoulder and my knees. I'm only 41, "she said," so we need this health care to be in the business. … The repetitive wear of your body is terrible.

The UAW released a social media video on Tuesday evening outlining the needs of low-cost workers for health care.

"It would be difficult for you to find a GM long-term worker who does not live on a daily basis because of the job," said Denny Ramos. a striking GM worker in Lansing, Michigan, in the video.

In the meantime, both sides are digging for a long fight. Most analysts say it will take weeks for GM to be financially affected, but workers live off a weekly strike of $ 250 while they are excluded from occupational health care. The UAW now reports unexpectedly about the latter, which is not good news from the strike fund. Via Automotive News:

Most forecasters and Wall Street analysts agree that it would take weeks, if not months, to really burden GM's bottom line, even if the company estimated it would cost $ 50 million to $ 100 million. Dollars per production shutdown loses. Inventories far above the industry average may keep dealers' lots full for the foreseeable future, but some dealers have expressed concerns that parts bottlenecks could soon cripple their service departments.

Some GM suppliers, including Nexteer Automotive, have warned that layoffs were expected shortly.

GM's tactical decision to abruptly dismiss around 46,000 hourly workers from their regular health insurance, despite causing negative headlines, increased pressure on the union. And while the work stoppage has given workers an outlet to eradicate long-standing grievances about wages, health care and job security, many expressed concern that the reality of living on a fraction of their normal pay has come to fruition.

This moment is also political

Michigan was crucial for the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, at least in part because Hillary Clinton had it so difficult in that state. This time Democrats are on duty to support striking workers. Massachusetts

Sen. Elizabeth Warren was in Detroit-Hamtramck, Minnesota Sen this weekend. Amy Klobuchar was there last week and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is expected there this week. In addition, former Vice President Joe Biden was at the Fairfax assembly in Kansas City to march with picket workers around 12:30 pm She immediately got out of the SUV and grabbed a shield to march with the red-robed crowd and the T-shirts, which read, "I am a Warren Democrat" and "Warren has a plan for it."

Warren condemned GM during its visit to the construction product in countries like Mexico with cheaper labor. She credited the unions with the creation of the middle class and said they would rebuild it.

"The UAW workers are here to stop saying anything," she said. "They want contracts here to get these jobs in America. They want a fair wage. They want benefits. They want what it takes to be part of the American middle class. And they want the same for themselves and for temporary workers. Everyone earns a living wage in this country. When the unions win, all American workers win. "

Trump, who has been massively committed to bringing jobs back to America, has so far mostly expressed a desire to find a quick solution to the strike.

He has sharply criticized GM's production movements in recent years, but as the AP has noted, work remains a predominantly democratic domain. This puts him and the rest of the GOP in a strange position:

The union's support would undermine Trump's message that workers are not working for their workers and giving a powerful democratic force a boost before a vote.

Appealing to GM If he challenges his promise to defend the workers, he runs the risk of being blamed for economic problems in the states of the rust belt in which he must be re-elected.

His task becomes more difficult the longer the strike lasts.

"There is a story of this problem is treacherous in Michigan," said Matt Grossman, a political scientist at Michigan State University. He pointed out that Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign suffered in 2012 when Democrats repeatedly referred to an opinion he wrote against the bailout. The headline: "Let Detroit go bankrupt."

"It's treacherous to be against the auto workers," said Grossmann.

[…] John Sellek, a Republican strategist from Michigan, said he believes Trump is on the side of the workers, but tries to "thread the needle" and not GM's bid to save one or two works, to blow up.

"This fits in with his election campaign The path of victory fits in with his trade policy positions," he said. "He's taking a more cautious approach rhetorically for now, but if he decides on a particular day that it's time to jump in with both legs, we should not be surprised he does."

Third Gear: Lordstown Workers say Battery Plant Is Not Enough

One of the biggest hot spots in this strike battle is the Lordstown factory of GM in Ohio, which used to build the Chevrolet Cruze, but after being unallocated, waited for an electric truck startup – although this would probably mean fewer jobs and certainly not the same salary level as before.

Now GM is talking about making it a battery factory while the negotiations continue, but one thing is clear for striking auto workers: The only way forward is when they have a car at their disposal that they can manufacture via Reuters:

Under contract negotiations with the UAW has proposed that GM convert the Lordstown plant to an electric vehicle battery plant. Irrespective of this, it is being negotiated to sell the asset to a group affiliated with EV Startup Workhorse Group Inc (WKHS.O). Workhorse declined to comment.

GM CEO Mary Barra defended the Workhorse Plan in Washington in June. She also told Reuters that GM had no plans to build a new vehicle in Lordstown.

The workers in Lordstown said this was the only way to get enough well-paid construction contracts for the community. They – and the UAW – blame GM.

"They have done everything GM has asked you to do, and it still has not been enough," said Tim O & Hara, president of UAW Local 1112, at a rally on the doorstep of 100 cheering workers Plant on friday. "We will hold the line as long as it takes."

However, experts say it's unlikely:

The reality is GM needs to reduce its underutilized production capacity in the US, said Sam Fiorani, vice president of Auto Forecast Solutions.

"There is no chance that GM will return a product to this factory," he said. "You have too much capacity as it is."

(GM made a $ 8.1 billion profit in 2018).

4. Gear: Automobile companies "wait and see" for emission regulations

Bloomberg notices this in 2009 When President Obama announced stricter fuel economy rules, "he stood side by side in the White House's rose garden with executives from the largest automakers." Now Since his successor is working to reset these standards, they are much less visible.

From the story:

Instead of a cadre of CEOs, the sole envoy of the automobile industry was a trade union official who said after the event that the group had not yet rejected or supported the plan.

High-contrast scenes highlight the difficult situation in which Washington automobile manufacturers were led by President Donald Trump. The industry has been aggressively pushing for the relaxation of the Obama rules, but the plan proposed in August 2018 went beyond what most automakers actually wanted.

"That's exactly what we wanted to avoid, this insecurity that now prevails," said Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said on the sidelines of Thursday's event. "We need to look at what the final rule is and look at the whole package and then decide what our position will look like and different companies can collapse in different places."

This uncertainty already exists volatile time for the industry. Automakers are under pressure from investors to invest billions in forward-looking technologies such as electric and autonomous vehicles.

And even if the fuel consumption rules are reset to the level before Obama, you should not expect an immediate difference in your new cars in the face of long product planning cycles. Try it around 2025.

If the Trump administration prevails on all fronts – if national standards are weakened and California's power is eroded to hold its own – this is not necessarily a clear win for the industry. These completed product plans and parts contracts have already resulted in improved fuel efficiency for both gasoline and electric vehicles.

"If the standards are weakened, then the suppliers who have worked on these technologies – be they internally -. Whether internal combustion engine or electric vehicle – these quantities will decrease, posing a risk to suppliers, "said Alan Baum, an independent autoanalyst based in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

. 5 Gear: Europe freaks out

More companies, not just the BMW Mini division and the Jaguar Land Rover, are about to face a potential no-deal Brexit, which is on the rise in October. From Reuters:

In a statement, groups, including the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers and 17 national groups, warned of the effects of "no-deal" on an industry in which 13.8 million people in Europe employs Union, including Britain, or 6.1% of the workforce.

"Britain's exit from the EU without an agreement would trigger a seismic shift in trade conditions, with billions of dollars in tariffs affecting the choices and affordability of consumers on both sides of the Channel," they write in Monday's statement.

"The end of barrier-free trading could disrupt the industry's just-in-time operating model, with just a minute of production downtime in the UK costing € 54,700. "

If the two sides resort to the World Trade Organization's trading rules, which are the likely consequence of a disorderly Brexit, the groups warned against necessity. The tariffs increase the car trade bill between the EU and the United Kingdom by 5.7 billion euros.

That will be interesting.

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Neutral: What solution do you want to see for the strike?

The Super – Low Health Care Most Americans who pay much more than that are stunned that UAW workers want to protect that. And GM has indeed made a lot of money since it shipped orders from America. How can the workers best assert themselves here?

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