October 16, 2019 / 4:41 PM / a month ago

Timeline: GM reaches tentative labor deal with UAW union to end strike

(Reuters) - General Motors Co and the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative agreement for a new labor deal to end a month-long nationwide strike by about 48,000 hourly workers, the union said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: General Motors assembly workers picket outside the General Motors Bowling Green plant during the United Auto Workers (UAW) national strike in Bowling Green, Kentucky, U.S., October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

UAW officials and striking workers on the picket lines had said their focus in the dispute with GM was on jobs, pay equity and fairness for workers who made concessions in 2009 to help GM through its government-led bankruptcy. They also wanted to save factories in Ohio and Michigan GM had threatened to close.

This year’s talks - also occurring with Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles - have been overshadowed by a widening federal investigation into corruption at the union.

The following is a timeline of events leading up to the tentative agreement, which still must be approved by the workers:

Nov. 26, 2018

GM announced the No. 1 U.S. automaker’s biggest restructuring since its 2009 bankruptcy, putting five North American plants on notice for potential closure and saying it would cut nearly 15,000 jobs.

The UAW, which represents U.S. workers at the four U.S. plants targeted, vowed to fight the cuts.

U.S. President Donald Trump demanded that GM save the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant that was targeted.

Nov. 27, 2018

Trump threatened to eliminate subsidies for GM in retaliation for the automaker cutting U.S. jobs and plants.

Dec. 5, 2018

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra warned the Detroit company had excess manufacturing capacity, and said the Lordstown plant’s future would be determined during the 2019 labor talks.

Dec. 14, 2018

GM said more than 1,100 of the 2,800 hourly active U.S. workers at plants losing production had volunteered to transfer to other plants. That number has risen since then to more than 2,300.

Jan. 3, 2019

The UAW sued GM in federal court, claiming its use of temporary workers at a plant in Indiana violated its labor deal.

Feb. 22, 2019

GM extended production at its Detroit Hamtramck plant until January 2020, instead of ending work in June as earlier planned. However, on March 6, the last Chevrolet Cruze small car rolled off the assembly line at the Lordstown plant.

Feb. 26, 2019

The UAW sued GM over its restructuring plan, saying it violated a 2015 collective bargaining agreement.

March 13, 2019

UAW President Gary Jones at the union’s bargaining convention in Detroit said job security and stopping the shift of U.S. jobs to Mexico were top priorities for the contract talks.

March 18, 2019

U.S. prosecutors in Detroit charged Norwood Jewell, a former high-ranking UAW official in charge of labor relations with Fiat Chrysler, of misusing funds to pay for lavish parties for himself and other union officials. The following month, he pleaded guilty.

May 8, 2019

GM said it was in talks to sell the idled Lordstown plant to a cash-strapped electric vehicle startup, Workhorse Group Inc. GM also said it would invest $700 million in three other Ohio plants. The UAW called on GM to put a new product of its own in the plant.

June 5, 2019

Barra defended GM’s proposed sale of the Lordstown plant and said the automaker did not plan to add a new vehicle there.

July 16, 2019

GM and the UAW formally kicked off talks for a new four-year labor deal, with Jones calling on the automaker to keep open plants it had slated for shutdown.

Aug. 28, 2019

The FBI conducted searches at the home of Jones and other locations as part of a corruption probe into illegal payments to union officials.

Sept. 3, 2019

The UAW said it would target GM first in talks with the Detroit automakers for contracts set to expire on Sept. 14.

Sept. 12, 2019

U.S. prosecutors’ probe of alleged corruption within the UAW expanded with the arrest of a senior union official. In a criminal complaint released the following day, a source said Jones was one of the unnamed officials singled out.

Sept. 16, 2019

The UAW workers went on strike against GM. The automaker disclosed it offered the UAW more than $7 billion in new investments, solutions for the Lordstown and Detroit assembly plants that included a battery plant in Ohio and an electric vehicle for the Michigan plant, a pay increase and a contract-ratification bonus of $8,000.

Sept. 17, 2019

GM shifted health insurance costs for the striking workers to the UAW, prompting an outcry from the union and Democratic politicians. On Sept. 26, GM reversed its decision.

Oct. 1, 2019

The UAW rejected a new offer from GM to end the strike. Five days later, UAW senior negotiator Terry Dittes said the talks took a “turn for the worse” and later called on GM to boost U.S. auto production.

Oct. 10, 2019

The union disclosed that GM’s Barra met with the UAW’s Jones and Dittes at the company’s Detroit headquarters, seeking to speed up talks, as the strike neared its fourth week.

Oct. 11, 2019

GM took the unusual step of appealing directly to striking employees, circumventing UAW’s leadership, in a blog post that laid out the terms of its latest offer aimed at ending the strike, upsetting the UAW in the process. The union accused GM of undermining the talks.

Oct. 15, 2019

The sides near a deal after Barra and GM President Mark Reuss join the bargaining table.

Oct. 16, 2019

The UAW and GM announce they reached a tentative agreement, which still must be approved by the members before the strike will officially end.

Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Joe White and Matthew Lewis

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