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GM strike 2019: United Auto Workers strike against General Motors in contract dispute

Davison resident Jeff Elkins, a General Motors employee, waves a United Auto Workers flag as employees leave the Flint Assembly Plant at midnight as part of the national strike Sept. 16, 2019, in Flint, Michigan. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

By: Kaitlin Schroeder and Thomas Gnau, Dayton Daily News

United Auto Workers’ strike against General Motors has begun.>

The strike began at midnight Sunday. The previous UAW contract with GM expired at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

The Dayton Daily News previously reported that an enduring United Auto Workers walkout against General Motors could affect Dayton-area auto parts suppliers — and hundreds of area employees.

Some big Dayton-area employers are suppliers of GM, including DMAX in Moraine, with more than 800 workers, and Fuyao Glass America, also in Moraine, with more than 2,000 workers.

But GM has enough inventory to weather a short walkout, according to at least one industry assessment. 

Cox Automotive estimates that GM’s inventory of trucks and SUVs in total stands at about 80 days. Cox Automotive is part of Cox Enterprises, the parent company of the Dayton Daily News.

David Kudla, founder and chief executive of Mainstay Capital Management in Grand Blanc, Michigan, said last week that a UAW strike against GM could have a real impact on the Moraine DMAX plant, which produces the Duramax diesel engine.

“It would have a very serious impact, because they’re making engines for the Chevy Silverado, Heavy Duty, and GMC Sierra,” Kudla had said. “Although they are not UAW locals, a UAW-represented plant, because they’re supplying UAW plants … it would idle that plant at some point.”

The Duramax diesel is offered as an option for the GMC Sierra and GMC Canyon, as well as the 2020 Silverado 1500 heavy-duty trucks. The local DMAX plant is 60% owned by GM, but its workers are represented by the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers – Communications Workers of America, not the UAW.

Any strike impact on Fuyao would be limited, Kudla had 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. 

The letter to members and another one to GM were aimed at turning up the pressure on GM negotiators.

“While we are fighting for better wages, affordable quality health care, and job security, GM refuses to put hard working Americans ahead of their record profits,” Dittes, the union’s chief bargainer with GM, said in a statement Saturday night.

In a statement, GM said it offered improved wages, benefits and additional U.S. 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.

The strike would be the union’s first since a two-day work stoppage at GM in 2007.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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