of United Auto Workers Local 1590 picket near the
GM Martinsburg Parts Distribution Center in
Martinsburg, W.Va.,, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019,
during the fourth day of a nationwide work
stoppage involving about 49,000 union workers.
DETROIT — A
General Motors offer to invest $7 billion in U.S.
facilities includes $2 billion from joint ventures and
suppliers for new plants that would pay workers less
than the top union wage, a person briefed on the matter
The offer is a major
issue that could get in the way of a deal between the
United Auto Workers and the company to end a nationwide
strike, now in its fourth day. About 49,000 UAW workers
have been on picket lines since Monday in a contract
dispute about wages, health care costs, profit sharing,
job security and other issues.
The $2 billion investment
from entities other than GM is important because those
factories would not be run as typical GM plants.
Although workers at those facilities would be
represented by the UAW, they would be paid far less than
the full UAW wage of about $30 per hour, said the
person, who requested anonymity because details of
contract talks are confidential. The union wants to add
jobs that pay the top UAW wage.
On Sunday, GM made part
of the offer public, saying that its investment included
5,400 jobs, the majority of them new hires. But the
person briefed on the talks said only about 2,700 new
jobs will be added. The rest are jobs that would be
retained because of the investments.
The person said union
negotiators were disappointed after the company briefed
them on details Wednesday. Further details were not
GM spokesman Dan Flores
wouldn't comment on the offer. GM said on Sunday that it
would invest in eight facilities in four states,
introduce new electric trucks, make wage or lump sum
payment increases and give each worker an $8,000 bonus
once the deal is ratified.
Releasing the offer just
before the strike started at midnight Monday was
designed to turn up the heat on union bargainers, who
until then had said the company's response to union
proposals had been slow. UAW Vice President Terry Dittes,
the top negotiator with GM, told the company that if the
offer had been made earlier, the strike could have been
The $2 billion investment
from joint ventures and suppliers also includes a
proposal to create an electric vehicle battery assembly
plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where the company is in the
process of closing a small-car assembly plant, the
person said. In addition, GM will pay for an electric
pickup truck that would go into the Detroit-Hamtramck
plant, which the company also wants to close.
The Lordstown facility
would offer lower wages, the person said.
Just how much workers are
paid at the Lordstown facility is an issue because
electric vehicles are expected to supplant those powered
by gasoline in the future. CEO Mary Barra has predicted
an "all-electric future" for GM, meaning jobs
making gas-powered cars could be in jeopardy.
On Thursday, Dittes
reported many unresolved issues in the talks but said
progress was being made. He made the comments in a
letter to union members.