UAW strike closing in on week 4

Pay increases, job security and affordable healthcare versus the sustainability of an automotive superpower.

TV5 talked to an expert strategist and a state law maker to see where there's common ground in the UAW-GM talks.

“They have a problem that’s going to be tough to solve,” said Erik Gordon, business professor at University of Michigan.

Gordon said coming to an agreement won’t be an easy feat. Among the main sticking points is employee pay.

UAW workers feel they're not getting a big enough piece of the pie as company profits soar.

Senator Gary Peters said GM should share the wealth.

“General Motors has done very well in recent years and it’s very important for workers to also benefit from those years," Peters said.

Gordon said it's because GM is thinking about the future.

"Because GM is going to operate so differently,” Gordon said. “Yesterday’s profits are irrelevant to a contract going forward."

Gordon said it's the future of how cars are made that's stalling the GM side of negotiations.

“It’s probably the biggest change in how cars are manufactured in 80 or 90 years,” he said.

The other major issue is keeping or making more jobs in the US.

In a letter to GM employees today, the company said it's working to appease union members, saying in part that "Our offer commits to thousands of new jobs right here in the US and billions of dollars in new investments in our communities."           

Gordon and Peters have very different views on that.

“It’s extremely important that when GM builds new automobiles, expand production they need to be doing it in the us,” Peters said.

"If GM agrees to bring all plants from Mexico to the us and produce every single vehicle here, it will be bankrupt in five years," Gordon said.

The UAW also released a letter today saying "It was our members and the American taxpayer who made their own sacrifices to protect this company in its darkest days. It’s time GM stops playing games and starts believing in and investing in the future of our members."

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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