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General Motors facing massive work stoppage as UAW announces strike

The two sides are apparently very far apart in negotiations

Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Union leadership has announced that more than 49,000 United Auto Workers will go on strike against General Motors starting at midnight Sunday, after negotiations between the union and General Motors on a new labor contract broke down.

According to ABC, the strike will affect General Motors' entire United States workforce and will begin with the morning shift on Monday. According to UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg, "But basically, when the morning shift would have reported for work, they won't be there. The picket lines are being set up."

A spokesman for GM issued a statement claiming that the auto manufacturer's last offer had included a promise to invest more than $7 billion in domestic plant operations, and to create an additional 5,400 U.S. jobs. The statement also claimed, "We presented a strong offer that improves wages, benefits and grows US jobs in substantive ways and it is disappointing that the UAW leadership has chosen to strike at midnight tonight."

However, union leadership's response indicated the two sides are still very far apart in negotiations, arguing that "If GM refuses to give even an inch to help hard-working UAW members and their families then we'll see them on the picket lines tonight."

After requiring a massive bailout from the government during the fiscal crisis of 2008-09, General Motors has returned to profitability due to the massive corporate re-organization prompted by the bailout's necessity. The company reported net profits of $8.1 billion in 2018. The company showed a pre-tax profit of $10.8 billion in 2018, which down slightly from 2017 figures, but still enough for GM workers to receive a healthy profit-sharing check.

The company was publicly criticized by its workers — and by President Donald Trump — for announcing plans to shutter plants in Lordstown, Ohio, and in Detroit.

GM's statement regarding the stalled labor negotiations indicated that the company had promised the UAW to offer "solutions" for workers impacted by these plant closures, but did not indicate what those solutions were.

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