A week in, GM strike leads to talk of layoffs by suppliers

Friday, September 20, 2019

As the United Auto Workers strike at General Motors enters its fifth day, its ripple effects are being felt among suppliers and beyond as negotiations continue to stalemate.

Nearly 50,000 union workers walked off their jobs on Sunday night, starting a nationwide strike at General Motors.

In a statement to ABC News, GM Canada said it had "seen a disruption of our vehicle assembly work at the Oshawa Assembly Plant due to the UAW strike." The Associated Press reported that over a thousand workers have been temporarily laid off the GM plant in Oshawa, Canada, as a result of the strike.

"We plan to resume these operations as quickly as possible upon resolution of the UAW strike," the statement added.

Back stateside, a local UAW union chapter 699 in Saginaw, Michigan, shared a message from their president warning of possible temporary layoffs in the coming days from GM supplier Nexteer Automotive, which makes steering systems, "due to the disruption in GM production."

"As a Tier 1 supplier to GM, we have been monitoring the UAW-GM situation carefully to evaluate the potential impacts to our company. Without an imminent resolution, Nexteer faces the difficult conclusion that we must temporarily reduce our workforce in the coming days due to the disruption in GM production," the statement shared by union leader Tom Hurst said.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and work to minimize the impact to our employees. Our goal is to return to full production as quickly as possible. We will also continue to update employees if the situation changes or as we learn more," the statement added.

Andrew Rickerman, a spokesperson for the automotive technology and systems supplier Denso, told ABC News the impact on their production for GM will be determined by how long it will take to "reach a compromise" as the strike continues.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and remain hopeful that both sides will find an agreeable resolution soon," Rickerman said in a statement. "The impact on our production for GM will be determined by how long it takes to reach a compromise. As always, we will adjust our production schedules based on customer release schedules."

Negotiations are currently in their fifth day, and tensions heightened after it was revealed that health coverage for striking workers will no longer be covered by GM earlier this week.

Union leaders have argued that GM workers deserved a bigger slice of the company's profits, which they say have totaled $35 billion in North America over the last three years. Union members are calling for higher wages, retention of a health insurance plan in which workers pay about 4% of the costs, an improved pension plan and assurances that GM -- the makers of Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet -- will not close four plants in Maryland, Ohio and Michigan.

"The offer we presented to the UAW prioritizes employees, communities and builds a stronger future for all," GM said in a tweet. "It includes improved wages and health care benefits, over $7B in U.S. investments and 5,400 jobs."

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