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49K Auto Workers to Strike by Midnight

Negotiations break down between the United Auto Workers union and General Motors
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 15, 2019 12:25 PM CDT
In this July 16, 2019, file photo United Auto Workers President Gary Jones speaks during the opening of their contract talks with General Motors in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
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(Newser) – The United Auto Workers union announced that its roughly 49,000 members at General Motors plants in the US will go on strike Sunday night because contract negotiations with the automaker had broken down, the AP reports. The decision came after about 200 plant-level union leaders voted unanimously in favor of a walkout during a meeting Sunday morning in Detroit. "We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most. Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our members," union Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement. It's still possible that bargainers could return to the table and hammer out an agreement, but union spokesman Brian Rothenberg said at a news conference that it would be unlikely.

He said it would be hard to believe that the bargainers could resolve so many issues before 11:59pm. The announcement came hours after the union let its contract with GM expire Saturday night. In a statement, GM said it offered improved wages, benefits, and additional US jobs. "It is disappointing that the UAW leadership has chosen to strike at midnight tonight. We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency. Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business," the company said. On Saturday, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a letter to GM members that after months of bargaining, both the union and GM were far apart on issues such as wages, health care, temporary employees, job security, and profit-sharing.

(Read more strike stories.)

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