Amid the ongoing United Auto Workers (UAW) union strike that has reverberated across the automotive industry, General Motors CEO Mary Barra has stepped forward to assert the company’s position. Barra, speaking on “CBS Mornings,” addressed the strike, emphasising that GM had made significant efforts to resolve the situation.
“We’ve been at the table since July 18th. We received over 1,000 demands,” Barra stated, “and we put four offers on the table.”
Barra expressed her pride in the offer GM presented on Thursday, referring to it as “historic.” She noted that it marked a record-breaking gross wage increase in the company’s 115-year history while maintaining the high-quality healthcare that GM employees currently enjoy. Furthermore, she underlined the importance of job security, asserting that the contract on the table included provisions for product and work for all GM plants, a significant achievement in itself.
However, Barra also made it clear that meeting all of the UAW’s demands would hinder GM’s success. She revealed that the initial demands from the union amounted to over $100 billion.
“We still have a ways to go with the offer they put on the table last night,” Barra admitted, indicating that negotiations were ongoing. She emphasised GM’s commitment to resolving the strike as swiftly as possible.
The strike initiated by thousands of UAW members at midnight has had widespread repercussions across the automotive sector. Picket lines have emerged at key facilities, including Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant, a GM plant in Missouri, and a Stellantis plant in Ohio. This marks the first time that all three major automakers have been simultaneously affected by a strike.
When questioned about GM’s reluctance to meet the union’s demands, which include a 36% pay raise, a four-day work week, and pension benefits for all employees, Barra emphasised the need for GM to invest in products that align with customer preferences to ensure the company’s success over the next century.
Barra also acknowledged the concerns regarding GM’s ability to sustain production lines during the strike. Notably, the Wentzville plant in Missouri, which recently launched the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon, is facing strong demand for its products. Barra assured that GM would work diligently to meet customer demands even amidst the strike.
Addressing her own compensation, Barra highlighted that more than 92% of executive compensation at GM is performance-linked. She also pointed to the company’s profit-sharing program, emphasising that GM’s success translates into benefits for all employees.
As the UAW strike continues to unfold, it remains a significant challenge for GM and the broader automotive industry, with the resolution of the strike crucial for restoring normalcy and productivity.