Does the UAW Leadership have what it takes to close a deal?

GM – UAW Negotiations Update

We are now into the fifth week of the strike, with no end in sight.  While there are few specific details about GM’s latest offer to the UAW, from where I am sitting, it appears to be pretty attractive. It includes the following improvements from the offer submitted prior to the strike.  According to a letter to GM employees “On Monday, we presented another offer we felt achieved our mutual objectives. It would increase compensation through wages and lump sum payments, preserve industry-leading health care benefits without increasing out-of-pocket costs, enhance profit-sharing with unlimited upside, and improve the ratification bonus. For temporary workers, our offer also would create a clear path to permanent employment and include a ratification bonus." In addition, the company upped the stakes on investment commitments.  Therefore, on the surface, it appears that in good faith that, GM has attempted to address most, if not all, of the UAW’s concerns. This is why I, along with others, are beginning to question the ability of the UAW Leadership to close this deal.

There are a number of red flags – here are a few of them….

  • The corruption scandal – is the UAW Leadership trying to deliver a tentative agreement that is “over the top” in order to gain favor with the membership?
  • Moving the goal posts – the UAW Leadership has consistently communicated an ever-changing list of outstanding issues that appears to be frustrating and confusing the membership.  One day they report making “good progress” on topics such as health care and temporary workers and then the next report is that they are still battling it out on these issues.
  • Top UAW leaders have never really been to the “show” before – from what I understand, neither Jones nor Dittes have experienced negotiations at this level before.
  • 3 strikes and you’re out - Jones is juggling three significant strikes right now (GM, Mack and Aramark)… you see a pattern?
  • Ratification – the UAW Leadership has suggested that they might leave the GM workers on strike during the ratification process rather than returning them to work once a tentative agreement is signed.  Does this approach suggest that the leadership has confidence in any tentative agreement that they may put forward for a ratification vote?

I will leave it up to you to decide what is going on here, but at some point, the UAW Leadership is going to have to pull the trigger on a deal and get their members back to work.  When it comes down to closing a deal, you have to realize at some point that you aren’t going to get everything you want and you can’t make everyone entirely happy. You just have to do your best to appeal to the masses.  Remember, GM isn’t going to get everything that they want either.

Hopefully GM and the UAW can reach a responsible agreement soon – let’s get everybody back to work. It is time for a deal.

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