UAW strike could cost GM about $1 billion

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General Motors offered striking union members wage increases or lump-sum payments in all four years of a proposed contract, as bargainers seek a deal to end a walkout that's in its third week.

A spokesperson for General Motors (GM) pointed out that the company is prioritizing its target of getting back "everybody" to work despite the continuous hard-line stance of UAW employees who spearheaded the strike.

Compounding issues for GM is the fact it was forced to close its assembly plant and a transmission plant in Silao, Mexico, idling temporarily some 6,000 workers and halting production of GM's valuable pickup trucks, which are the major source of the company's profits.

And while the strike is hurting both the company and the union workers, nonunion workers say they may be worse off.

For its part in the negotiations, GM said it will keep the talks going until an agreement is reached for the benefit of the company and its employees.

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Vice President Terry Dittes (DIT-ez) tells local union leaders in a letter Tuesday that the proposal made Monday night was lacking on wages, health care, use of temporary workers, job security and other items. Workers are having to get by on $250 per week in strike pay instead of their normal base pay of about $1,200 per week. The Silverado and Sierra models generate most of GM's global profit, according to analyst estimates cited by the Wall Street Journal.

GM's Mexican employees are not part of the UAW, however, they rely on components shipped from UAW-affiliated facilities to build the trucks.

The strike has cost GM just over $1 billion thus far, JP Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman estimated Tuesday. So revenue has been counted already for almost all vehicles that are in dealer hands. He wrote that the company wanted the union to make concessions.

GM contends that its workers already the best paid in the auto industry in the USA and it has offered and array of bonuses and improvements in profit sharing as well as more than $7 billion in new investments for new products at a time when the industry is undergoing massive changes.

Almost 50,000 U.S. workers are on strike at GM due to a United Auto Workers conflict over the labor contract, now in its third week.

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