At 11:59 p.m on Sunday night, more than 48,000 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) went on strike against General Motors, making this the auto industry’s first full work stoppage since the 73,000-worker walkout in 2007—also against GM.
The UAW had originally declared its intention to strike at a press conference held on Sunday morning, citing its position on the automaker’s lack of quality health care, job security, and proper wages, all of which the union says were sacrificed to put profits ahead of workers. Less than 24 hours later, workers walked out of 31 GM factories and 21 other facilities across nine separate states.
According to reports, GM and the UAW did not formally meet after this press conference. A new meeting has reportedly been scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Monday, though not on time to stop the workers from striking or drawing criticism from high-ranking officials, including U.S. President Donald Trump who chastised both parties for not getting together to “make a deal.”
Additional reports by CNN state that GM did make a substantial offer to UAW members which would include revised pay and profit-sharing structure, as well as the promise for bringing in new jobs. This reportedly also includes a solution to keep alive two plants which were condemned for deallocation, the Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown facilities, by allocating new products to the facility.
While the details of the product are still a secret, an individual familiar with the matter told CNN that GM’s offer specifically pointed to the allocation of an upcoming electric truck to Detroit-Hamtramck and its battery production to Lordstown.
According to GM, its average hourly worker earns about $90,000 per year, however, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley says that despite this number being averaged across all pay scales, it’s also padded by overtime and other factors which don’t improve a worker’s guaranteed income. A newly-hired “in progression” worker generally earns about $17 per hour, while GM’s legacy workers can earn between $28 and $33 per hour. But the real heavy-hitters are the skilled trades workers who make up about 15 percent of the company’s workforce—and these individuals can earn as much as $36 per hour and are often granted heavy overtime.
GM workers are reportedly looking to negotiate modifications to their base pay which would prove to be assured income rather than gambling on profit-sharing incentives. Data shows that the average GM worker currently amasses around $14,000 (nearly twice that of both Ford and FCA) of annual profit-sharing income, though this number could substantially drop should the automotive industry experience a decline.
For now, the strike isn’t anticipated to impact the immediate availability of most GM vehicles. Data from Cox Automotive suggests that the automaker has inventory to supply customers with vehicles for about 77 days, well above the industry’s 61-day running average. This includes a 59-day supply of cars and an 80-day supply of trucks across all of GM’s brands.
“With respect to inventory, we have enough inventory to meet our sales and market share objectives, a GM spokesperson told The Drive via email. “Third parties are estimating we have a 78 days supply.”
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