The electric vehicle market is growing daily, and the question on everyone’s mind now is, “When will we get an electric truck?” Tesla, Rivian, and Ford are the forerunners in this race and are working on some truly impressive projects.
GM has been flirting with the idea of joining the race by developing either an electric truck or SUV for months now but hasn’t taken any major steps to make this idea a reality. Thanks to the UAW strike, however, that all may be about to change.
What is the UAW?
According to UAW, “The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America is one of the largest and most diverse unions in North America, with members in virtually every sector of the economy.”
The UAW works with a variety of organizations, ranging from health care, factories, and even colleges and universities to negotiate wages for its members. UAW has contracts with employers in Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States.
Why is UAW on strike?
CNN reports that it all began back in November of 2018 when GM announced it was going to cut 15% of its salaried workers, as well as shut down five North American Plants.
It was bad enough that GM decided to go this route in the first place for the workers who depend so desperately on auto factories for work. The fact that GM decided to announce it right before the Holiday season was like salt on an already weeping wound.
According to CNN, “GM’s new motto is “Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, Zero Congestion,” signaling a shift to self-driving, electric vehicles. But the restructuring is also about making cars people want now. Customers are increasingly shunning sedans in favor of SUVs and hatchbacks.”
In other words, GM wants to reduce its global footprint, even if it costs many of the workers that have stood by the company through thick and thin. This means producing fewer vehicles, especially sedans which aren’t selling like they used to.
The plants GM reportedly planned to close included: Detroit; Oshawa, Ontario; Warren, Ohio; White Marsh, Maryland; and Warren, Michigan.
In total, it would have impacted nearly 8,000 salaried workers and 6,000 hourly workers. Some of the hourly workers were offered to move to another plant.
The UAW wants its workers to keep their jobs, earn more money, and receive better benefits. One of the terms on the table was reducing temporary workers who don’t make as much money and don’t receive any benefits.
GM offered to invest $7 million in North American plants as well as an electric truck to be built at the Hamtramck factory, but UAW rejected the offer.
The strike continued for a month, but according to the Detroit News, this may be coming to an end as GM and the UAW reached a tentative agreement. “It is expected to include at least $9 billion in new investment, the creation of 9,000 jobs, preserved health insurance benefits without increases to out-of-pocket costs, ratification bonuses of $11,000, uncapped profit-sharing payouts, 3% base-wage increases in two of the years and 4% lump-sum bonuses in the other two years of the proposed four-year contract.”
Three of the plants that closed will not be reopened, but temporary workers would become full-time workers.
The strike has reportedly cost GM $1.5 billion in profits. Considering GM hoped to save $6 billion by shutting down plants and cutting workers, it’s plan didn’t work out.