Jeff Rathburn from Local 598 and a GM Flint Assembly Plant material manager talk about the strike.
Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press

The UAW and General Motors dealers were at it until 3 o'clock on Thursday before deepening and resuming the call in the morning.

It was the first late night work session since the union went on strike at 12:01 am on September 16, people said close to the talks that spoke on terms of anonymity.

The late night is a positive sign, but no assurance that a tentative affair is imminent. Only the subcommittees negotiated and worked until the morning hours. The top negotiators had not returned to the main table late in the morning on Thursday.

Gary Henrion, 47, and Victor Hayworth, 61, walked early in the morning garment line at the body shop gate at GM Detroit-Hamtramck's assembly plant on Thursday, October 10 – the 25th day of the national strike at the car manufacturer. (Photo: Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press)

This is the fourth week since 46,000 GM professionals went on a nationwide strike. On Monday, GM submitted a new contract proposal to the union. The close negotiations said the union was still working to respond.

Colin Lightbody, a former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor dealer, said the long session seems to be a step in the right direction, but not a slam dunk.

"It's usually the main table you want to see go deep. into the evening, "Lightbody said. "But the fact that subcommittees meet early in the morning is a good sign."

Lightbody was the FCA's Chief of Business Administration until he retired in 2018. He is now President of HR & Labor Guru Inc., a consulting firm in Windsor, Ontario. He spent 20 years with the FCA and worked on five national negotiations in the United States and seven in Canada with its autoworker unions.

"It is my understanding that UAW has not responded to GM's latest contract offer that was submitted on Monday morning. At this stage of the game, one would expect that if the parties were shut down with a deal offering and counter deals traded with a few hours, not a few days. "

He said he remains positive because," at least the two parties are still talking. "

The protracted strike takes a toll on GM, the strikers and the related community. A new analysis estimates that as many as 100,000 workers have been laid off, face pay cuts or otherwise have been harmed by the extended strike against GM.


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Some car dealers have reported difficulty getting parts to repair cars, GM is estimated to have lost about a billion dollars so far, but estimates vary widely t. Striking workers manage $ 250 a week from UAW's strike fund.

One of the remaining questions is a critical and complex solution: job security, say those close to the negotiations. UAW wants to make sure that GM will build future vehicles, especially petrol-powered cars, in US plants.

More: Key Attachment Point: GM and UAW in conflict over what will be done in America

More: UAW says that GM has "lack of commitment" to US factories, has "little progress to report"

But GM pays much greater labor costs in the US than in Mexico, for it to be viable and competitive, it has said it needs to build some vehicles in Mexico. Work experts say workers in Mexico start at $ 1.90 per hour in GM's factories there. Manufacturing of UAW workers in the United States starts at $ 17 an hour and can earn $ 28 after eight years.

The union became angry in November when GM said it would not allocate new vehicles to two US assembly plants, Lordstown in Ohio and Detroit-Hamtramck, and no future work for transmission facilities in Warren and Baltimore. Lordstown and the transmission facilities are idle; Detroit-Hamtramck is to work at a reduced level until January

"Many UAW people who were in Lordstown, Detroit-Hamtramck, Warren and Baltimore transmission facilities are now in other UAW locals because they were transferred when in hibernation," said a person familiar with the negotiations. "So when it comes to ratification, job security is important because these people know it. It hits close to home."

Late Tuesday, UAW's chief negotiator with General Motors, Terry Dittes, told union members that GM has not shown a "solid commitment" to building vehicles in US factories that the union believes is the key to job security.

"On day 23 of our strike, this still remains as one of our top agenda items with little progress to report," Dittes said.

The letter added, "We have made it clear that there is no job security for us when GM products are manufactured in other countries for the purpose of selling them here in the United States. We believe the vehicles GM sells here should be built here. We understand not GM's opposition to this proposal. "

Contact Jamie L. LaReau at 313-222-2149 or [email protected] . Follow her on Twitter @ jlareauan . Read more at General Motors and sign up for our car newsletter .

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