General Motors says it is reinstating all insurance benefits for striking UAW workers. "GM has chosen to work with our providers to keep all benefits fully in place for striking hourly employees, so they have no disruption to their medical care", writes GM.
The letter says employee health and well-being are GM's top priorities.
It wasn't clear how the rhetoric or the health care spat would affect contract talks aimed at ending the strike by 49,000 workers that has shut down manufacturing for almost two weeks at more than 30 GM plants across the nation.
UAW locals around the country and throughout MI posted notices to members last week, saying GM had ended medical, dental and vision insurance along with prescription coverage effective September 16, the first day of the national strike against the company that entered its eleventh day Thursday.
"There is no doubt that public sentiment sees these actions of GM as a shameful act", Terry Dittes, the UAW vice president in charge of the GM department, said on Thursday in a letter to GM that the union released publicly.
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'Our goal remains to reach an agreement that builds a stronger future for our employees and our company, ' a GM spokesperson told ABC News on Thursday.
"It includes improved wages and health care benefits, over $7B in US investments and 5,400 jobs", according to a post on GM's Twitter page. The UAW said the benefits lapsed, but did not give a date.
The union's strike fund was covering the cost of premiums and copays for its members. Workers can take vacation time or they'll get an unspecified portion of their pay, GM said.
The union wants those workers to get a path to permanent positions and compensation closer to that of their permanent counterparts.
But on Thursday, GM announced that it had reversed its decision.
The strike has received national attention as prominent political figures including 2020 presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden have joined the picket lines and voiced solidarity with striking workers.