GM makes public plea for union to resolve UAW strike


General Motors Co took the unusual step of appealing directly to employees in a blog post on Friday that laid out the terms of the automaker's latest offer aimed at ending a month-long strike, angering the union with which it is negotiating.

The automaker said Friday morning that on October 7 it presented an updated offer to the UAW, which would increase compensation and preserve health care benefits without raising out-of-pocket expenses.

"Our offer commits to thousands of new jobs right here in the USA and billions of dollars in new investments in our communities".

While emphasizing GM's commitment to the collective bargaining process, the letter, signed by Gerald Johnson, executive vice-president for global manufacturing, circumvents United Auto Workers (UAW) leadership and points to frustration at a lack of progress on ending a conflict that has already cost the company more than $1 billion.

An ongoing workers' strike at General Motors Co GM.N could cost the automaker about $1.5 billion, brokerage Credit Suisse said on Friday, throwing the USA automaker's cost reduction plans off the track and forcing key suppliers to cut their 2019 outlook.

"We have openly told GM that we do not see a solid commitment to this talented and skilled workforce that has made them billions of dollars in profits", reads a letter from Dittes.

"We have advised the Union that it's critical that we get back to producing quality vehicles for our customers", GM's letter says.

The high-level talks come two days after GM CEO Mary Barra held a secret meeting with Dittes, who's leading the main talks, and UAW president Gary Jones - urging them to end the strike. It said GM's annual costs in wages and benefits are more than $1 billion higher than foreign automakers operating US plants. The offer also give workers enhanced profit-sharing with unlimited upside and improves their ratification bonus. The importance of the "future of work" committee underlines what we have been pointing out since the beginning of this strike: "it is more about the future than about the cash". The plant is among four GM facilities in the USA that were to be idled.

Job security remains a major issue in negotiations. But those other issues also must be resolved as part of an agreement.

"Upon completion of those committees, the union will answer the company's latest proposal presented. and will prepare and provide a comprehensive proposal for your consideration", the same Thursday letter says.

"During this meeting, GM CEO Mary Barra requested all committees work to resolve their open issues simultaneously so the company could receive a comprehensive proposal from the union".

Talks are expected to continue Friday. Credit Suisse estimated the loss could hit about $1.5 billion.

UAW workers are concerned that as GM shifts to more electric vehicles it will require fewer workers, and battery production may result in workers getting paid less than at existing transmission plants. "We don't understand GM's opposition to this proposition".