GM-UAW talks take turn for worse; settlement not near

John Kirk, right, a 20-year-employee, pickets with co-workers outside the General Motors Fabrication Division, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, in Parma, Ohio.

DETROIT — Contract talks aimed at ending a 22-day strike by the United Auto Workers against General Motors continued Monday after United Auto Workers union bargainers rejected a company offer on Sunday.

In a letter to members, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes cast doubt on whether there will be a quick settlement in the contract dispute, which sent 49,000 workers to the picket lines on Sept. 16, crippling GM’s factories.

Dittes’ letter said the union presented a proposal to the company Saturday. He said GM responded Sunday morning by reverting back to an offer that had been rejected and made few changes.

The company’s proposal did nothing to address a host of items, Dittes wrote on Sunday, specifying job security for members during the term of the four-year contract.

Normally in contract talks, the union bargains for commitments from the company to build new vehicles, engines, transmissions and other items at U.S. factories represented by the union.

“It did nothing to provide job security during the term of this agreement,” Dittes wrote. “We, in this union, could not be more disappointed with General Motors who refuse to recognize the experience and talent of our membership.”

In a statement, GM said it continues to negotiate in good faith “with very good proposals that benefit employees today and builds a stronger future for all of us.”

The company said it is committed to talking around the clock to resolve the dispute.