DETROIT, MI (AP - Modified) — General Motors says it presented what it believes was a strong offer to the roughly 49,000 workers at its U.S. plants, including improved wages and benefits and investments in eight facilities in four states.
"Inside that offer is over 7 billion dollars of investment in plants and new product programs that also impact 5400 jobs," said Gerald Johnson, Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing at GM.
The automaker says in a news release that it is disappointed by the United Auto Workers union's decision to have its members at GM plants go on strike just before midnight on Sunday.
Lockport's chapter of the UAW had an exceptional turnout at their monthly meeting. So many showed up, they nearly ran out of parking.
GM says its bargainers "negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency," in Detroit Sunday morning and that its goal remains to "build a strong future" for its workers and business.
Union spokesman Brian Rothenberg said at a news conference that although it's still possible the two sides could hammer out a last-minute agreement, it would be hard to believe they could resolve so many issues before 11:59 p.m.
"Every day you start your car, every day a worker wakes up and goes to a plant and they expect to be safe," said Rothenberg. "At midnight tonight, the picket lines will go up."
A person briefed on the bargaining says General Motors has offered the United Auto Workers to make new products at two assembly plants it had planned to close.
The person says the company offered to build a new all-electric pickup truck at a factory in Detroit that is slated to close next year. The plant in Lordstown, Ohio, which already has stopped making cars, would become a battery manufacturing plant in addition to the possibility of building electric vehicles for a company called Workhorse.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to disclose details of the proposal, which haven't been revealed publicly.
The strike will affect GM plants in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, New York, Texas and elsewhere in the U.S.
"We stood up for GM when they needed us. These are profitable times, we work hard to make this company profitable and we deserve a fair contract because we've helped make this company what it is," said Ted Krumm, Chair of the UAW GM National Negotiations Team.
Here in western New York, union members were told not to speak with media because they’re still negotiating with GM. Sources tell 7 Eyewitness News they plan to go to in for their shifts tonight and start their strike at 11:59pm.