2019 General Motors strike

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2019 General Motors Strike
DateSeptember 15th-October 25th
Location
50 different locations around the United States
GoalsBetter compensation, job security
MethodsStrikes, Demonstrations
Parties to the civil conflict
Number
48,000 United Automobile Workers
Unknown

The 2019 General Motors strike began September 15th, 2019, with the walkout of 48,000 United Automobile Workers from some 50 plants in the United States. Demands by workers included increased job security, gateway for temporary workers to become permanent, better pay and retaining healthcare benefits

Background[edit]

This strike constituted the first major labor action in the American automotive industry in a decade.[1] The last strike coordinated by the UAW targeting General Motors occurred in 2007.[1]

Motivations[edit]

During the Great Recession and economic uncertainty that followed, unionized automotive workers accepted concessions to allow GM and other companies to recover. Though GM has since received large tax breaks and returned to profitability, worker compensation has remained stagnant, and the company continues to shutter American facilities and move some jobs abroad.[2]

Strike[edit]

The contract between the UAW and General Motors expired September 14th, and the strike began at 11:59pm on Sunday, September 15th, 2019. A two day difference between contract expiration and the beginning of a strike is unusually short,[3] but likely motivated by the prolonged negotiations between management and the union. The strike involved 48,000 GM employees.[4][5]

On September 17th, GM stopped providing health insurance to 55,000 union members,[6] forcing the UAW to pay for COBRA.

On September 26th, it was announced that GM would start to pay health insurance again to people on strike.[7]

On October 16th, It was announced that GM and The UAW agreed on a new labor contract that could end a month-long strike by 48,000 workers. Although the agreement between GM and UAW has not been officially approved, and workers who are still on strike said that they will wait until the deal has been approved completely before they return to their jobs.[8] The new contract was ratified by UAW members on October 25th, ending the strike[9]

Impact[edit]

An analyst for Credit Suisse estimated GM could lose as much as $50 million each day the strike continues,[10] while other analysts estimated daily losses could be as high as $100 million per day.[11] GM's share of the automobile market has decreased from 30% in the late 1990s to 17% today, meaning the strike will likely have fewer implications for the economy at large when compared to labor actions in the past.[12] The strike was also predicted to possibly lead to impacts on GM factories abroad, which rely on parts produced in American factories closed due to the strike, and on suppliers such as Canada-based Magna International.[13]

At the beginning of the strike, GM had roughly 83 days' worth of inventory available for sale, temporarily insulating its supply chain from the impact of the strike.[11]

Reactions[edit]

Teamsters have refused to deliver GM cars during the strike, in solidarity with GM workers.[3][14]

Members of the Trump administration, including Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro allegedly intervened in negotiations.[5] GM and the White House have both denied Kudlow and Navarro's involvement.

On Saturday September 21, Senator Elizabeth Warren, running at the time for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, joined a UAW picket line in Detroit. Other Democratic contenders for the nomination including Senator Bernie Sanders, former vice-president Joe Biden, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Representative Tim Ryan, also visited picket lines during the strike.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nicolaou, Anna (16 September 2019). "GM workers strike after talks on pay and benefits break down". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  2. ^ Campbell, Alexia Fernández (17 September 2019). "GM workers are on strike to accomplish what Trump couldn't". Vox. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Fast Strike Against GM Breaks Years of Negotiating Precedent (1)". Bloomberg Law. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  4. ^ Boudette, Neal E. (16 December 2019). "For G.M. Workers, U.A.W. Strike Is Chance for Overdue Reward". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  5. ^ a b Kullgren, Ian; White, Ben; Lippman, Daniel (17 September 2019). "White House intervenes in General Motors strike". Politico. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  6. ^ Axelrod, Tal (17 September 2019). "General Motors stops paying for striking union workers' health insurance". The Hill. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  7. ^ https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gm-strike-update-company-will-now-cover-health-care-for-striking-workers/
  8. ^ https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/16/gm-uaw-agree-on-tentative-labor-contract-that-could-end-strike.html
  9. ^ LaReau, Jaime L. (25 October 2019). "Strike over! UAW workers ratify contract with GM. Here's what's next". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  10. ^ Welch, David (14 September 2019). "GM Faces $50 Million Losses a Day as UAW Digs In for Strike". Bloomberg. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  11. ^ a b Wayland, Michael (17 September 2019). "GM strike costing up to $100 million a day isn't worrying investors — at least not yet". CNBC. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  12. ^ Torry, Harriet (17 September 2019). "GM Strikes Don't Pack Same Economic Punch They Did in the '90s". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  13. ^ Wong, Natalie (16 September 2019). "GM Strike Poised to Affect Thousands of Canadian Auto Jobs". Bloomberg. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  14. ^ Leggate, James (15 September 2019). "Teamsters refusing to transport GM vehicles in solidarity with UAW". Fox Business. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  15. ^ Saul, Stephanie (2019-09-22). "Warren and Biden Join U.A.W. Picket Lines as Democrats Use Strike to Court Labor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-09-22.