The UAW and General Motors have made good progress on two important points, the UAW negotiator said in a letter to members late Friday afternoon.

GM and the UAW negotiators adjourned early Friday evening after a full day of lectures at the Detroit Renaissance Center. It was day 19 of the nationwide strike of the union against the automaker. The talks should be continued on Saturday morning.

In the letter, Terry Dittes, vice president of the union's GM department, wrote: "Since the last update, we have made good progress in terms of healthcare and the way for temporary workers to become senior citizens."

The problem of temporary workers earning far less than salaried employees was a major obstacle to the talks. The temporary workers, who receive $ 1

5 to $ 19 per hour, can work for several years without the assurance of a fixed position. The UAW agreed to expand the use of temporary workers at all three Detroit automakers as the industry went into recession a decade ago.

Temporary workers are union members but are not entitled to pay and pay more for health care than their counterparts. A survey of car workers last year found that providing equity to them was the # 1 union member.

GM said, "We continue to negotiate, exchange proposals and make progress in reaching a preliminary agreement."

Remaining Issues

Dittes told members that UAW and GM still had "several of their proposals pending and unresolved, such as wages, job security, craft and pension."

A labor expert said the letter implies a real one Possibility of tentative agreement over the weekend. However, he warned that the process of collective bargaining does not solve problems individually. All questions must be summarized in one package.

"There's no agreement until that's done," said Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who specializes in work.

Shaiken said it was positive that Dittes highlighted that The key health care and temporary workers issues and related discussions will continue over the weekend.

"However, there are still very important issues to resolve," Shaiken said. "We'll see what things look like on Sunday, if not before, they might come closer, but a central theme continues to split them." [19455910] More: The UAW refuses GM's latest offer and informs its members that it has come too short

More: GM can withstand losses from UAW strikes – due to what it does

Temporary workers accounting for 7% -10% of GM hourly rates According to employees close to the talks, GM's preferred approach is to hire more temporary workers to cover the costs According to analysts, GM wants to hire enough temporary workers and reduce health care costs to save at least $ 5 an hour on labor costs – the sum of all labor costs divided by all hours worked Ann Arbor said that it was not Consciously organized foreign automakers who build cars in the United States have an average labor cost of $ 50 per hour. It is known that they employ more people than the Detroit Three. The average hourly labor cost of GM in the US is $ 63 per hour. The temporary workforce accounts for about 7% to 10% of GM's hourly workforce or about 4,100 people.

Health care is a big part of these costs, with UAW members spending only 3% of their expenditures, well below the US average of 28%. GM suggested at the beginning of the talks that workers should pay 15%, which was a non-starter. The reports on GM's position have changed since then, indicating that the company has given in and will stay at 3%, and then the question is back on the table.

GM costs increase

Since the expiration of the GM-UAW deal on September 14 at midnight, bargaining collectors meet daily on both sides. The union rejected a first GM proposal, and by 12 46,000 hourly workers went on strike: 01 on Sept. 16.

UAW negotiators are also negotiating with Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, who have extended their contracts while they strike with GM and negotiate. The union chose GM as a "target" firm to negotiate a bill to be submitted to Ford and the FCA on important economic and workplace security issues.

This strike has cost GM just over $ 1 billion, JP Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman said Tuesday. He estimates that GM loses $ 82 million a day, though East Lansing's Anderson Economic Group estimates that GM loses about $ 25 million in profits per day.

Nevertheless, many analysts have said that at the end of the second quarter, GM has a lot of $ 17.5 billion available and can survive the strike.

"That's true, but Moody's came out on Thursday." They are considering downloading GM bonds to junk status, "Shaiken said." That means GM would have to pay higher interest rates on loans, and this is a real price for the continuation of this strike. "

Another prize is the loss of production of high-volume vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra On Tuesday GM placed production in its Silao assembly in Silao, Mexico

In this factory, the highly profitable Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups are manufactured by GM and affected about 6,000 workers.

On Friday afternoon, GM announced that production in the other Mexican plants Ramos Arizpe, San Luis Potosí and Toluca will be continued on normal schedules GM will build the new off-road vehicles Chevrolet Blazer and Chevrolet Equinox in Ramos Arizpe GM will build Equinox, Chev off-road vehicles in San Luis Potosi rolet Trax and GMC Terrain. Toluca is a drive and foundry company.

More: GM closes Mexican pickup for UAW strike

These key vehicles may have a lower inventory than GM would like. The Chevrolet Silverado is a license to print money when it sells well. "

On the other hand, union members are living on the reality that $ 250 will be paid weekly for strikes. Although the union strike fund is well over $ 800 million, many workers worry about regular payments such as car loans and housing.

Contact Jamie L. LaReau: 313-222-2149 or [email protected] . Follow her on Twitter @ jlareauan . Read more about General Motors and sign up for our Autos Newsletter .

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