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General Motors Company NYSE:GM NYSE Common Stock
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  +$0.00 +0.00% $36.26 - - - 0 09:59:04

UAW Increases Strike Pay for GM Factory Workers

12/10/2019 11:23pm

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By Nora Naughton 

The United Auto Workers is increasing its weekly payout to General Motors Co. workers on strike, a sign the union is preparing to extend a nearly monthlong walkout that has halted work at the company's U.S. factories.

The UAW said Saturday more than 46,000 hourly workers on the picket line will see weekly strike pay increase to $275 from $250 starting Sunday. The union also said it would lift a restriction on members seeking part-time work, so now they can get a temporary job and still receive full strike pay.

The money is paid to workers out of the UAW's strike and defense fund, which the union typically taps during a work stoppage to ease the financial impact on members. The strike pay, however, is still a fraction of their normal take-home pay. GM's striking workers missed their third company paycheck Friday.

As the walkout drags on, some workers say they are stressed about monthly bills and worried about the chillier weather in the Midwest while they are outside on the picket lines.

Contract talks slowed earlier this week with both the union and company blaming each other in dueling public statements for what they described as tactics to hold up negotiations.

The union's strike fund exceeded $750 million heading into contract talks this summer, giving it a sizable amount of money to pay workers during the work-stoppage.

UAW leaders increased strike pay in March to $250 a week and had planned to raise it again to $275 a week in January, an early sign the union was preparing for a walkout.

As the union prepares workers for a longer strike, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes signaled progress in a letter to members Friday night, saying the sides were close to a tentative agreement. The UAW that day had provided a counter-offer to a deal GM presented Monday, wrote Mr. Dittes, the union's lead bargainer with GM.

The Detroit auto maker, having received the union's offer, was discussing the proposal with UAW bargainers Saturday, an indication that talks were moving again after stalling earlier in the week, according to a person familiar with the talks.

GM executives were frustrated with the union earlier this week after UAW bargainers waited four days to respond to a proposal it had put forth on Monday. The auto maker Friday morning appealed directly to factory workers with details of its latest offer.

In a letter to GM's U.S. employees Friday, GM's global manufacturing chief Gerald Johnson said the proposal included a clear path to full-time work for temporary employees and pay increases in each of the contract's four years.

GM also said it would boost the planned investment in U.S. facilities to roughly $9 billion, up from the $7 billion in an earlier proposal made public just before the strike began, according to another person familiar with the offer.

The extended walkout, now nearing the end of its fourth week, is taking a financial toll on both sides and rippling out into the broader economy. The work stoppage at more than 30 of GM's U.S. factories has also triggered shutdowns of GM plants in Canada and Mexico.

The lost production and other disruption from the work stoppage has cost GM roughly $1.5 billion so far, according to an estimate Friday from Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 12, 2019 18:08 ET (22:08 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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