GM makes new counteroffer to UAW in strike talks

By David Shepardson and Ben Klayman

October 5, 202310:33 AM PDT

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DETROIT, Oct 5 (Reuters) – General Motors (GM.N) said on Thursday it had made a counteroffer to the United Auto Workers (UAW) in a bid to end a strike by the union against the U.S. automaker.

Separately, UAW President Shawn Fain plans an update on the status of the talks with the Detroit Three automakers at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Friday in the three-week-old strike.

The first-ever targeted strike against the Detroit Three automakers, including Ford (F.N) and Stellantis (STLAM.MI), began on Sept. 15.

GM said the offer was its sixth since talks between the sides began. The UAW said on Monday it presented a new contract offer to GM. GM said on Monday that despite the offer, “significant gaps remain.”

“We believe we have a compelling offer that would reward our team members and allow GM to succeed and thrive into the future,” the company said on Thursday.

A source familiar with the talks said there had been movement in a few key areas.

Fain has used prior weekly updates to announce expansions of the strike to additional plants at automakers that he said were not making significant progress toward new labor deals.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that negotiators for the UAW and Ford have narrowed their differences on pay increases after a new offer from the automaker amid “really active” talks, according to people familiar with the bargaining.

In addition to Ford, talks with Chrysler parent Stellantis and have been active in recent days, sources said. Stellantis declined to comment.

Ford said on Tuesday it had made a “comprehensive” new offer that included a “more than 20% general wage increase, not compounded” with a double-digit increase in the first year. Ford did not elaborate.

That proposal, when combined with cost-of-living adjustments previously offered by the automaker, could bring the total wage increase offer close to 30% over the life of the contract, people familiar with the situation said.

However, the UAW and Ford have not announced agreements on other, significant issues including pay and union representation at future battery plants, and the union’s push for a return to retirement plans that assure a defined level of benefits.

In a sign the Detroit automakers are still bracing for a lengthy struggle, GM on Wednesday secured a new $6 billion line of credit and estimated the cost of the United Auto Workers strike was $200 million during the third quarter, a company spokesman said.

Meanwhile, workers represented by the UAW in talks with Volvo Group (VOLVb.ST)-owned Mack Trucks will receive a 19% pay hike over five years, according to a summary of the tentative agreement seen by Reuters.

Reporting by David Shepardson, Ben Klayman and Joseph White in Detroit Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis

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