GM Reinstates Health Insurance for Strikers as Progress Made in Contract Talks

United Auto Workers, Aramark workers carry strike signs while picketing outside the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. September 15, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

As the General Motor strike enters day 11, some progress appears to be made at the bargaining table as GM decided to reinstate strikers’ health insurance.

Last week, General Motors decided to cut health insurance for striking workers; causing many workers and their family members to skip vital medical appointments.

“GM is very concerned about the significant confusion caused around our employee’s health care coverage,” Scott Sandefur, GM – North America vice president of labor relations, wrote in the letter to UAW Vice President Terry Dittes. “Throughout this negotiation, GM has said that our number one focus was on the well-being of our employees. That remains the case today.”

The decision to reinstate health insurance comes as GM and UAW both report that some progress has been made at the bargaining table. However, the company and the union still remain far divided on creating a pathway to permanent employment for temporary employees and eliminating a two-tier wage system.

The move to cut health insurance angered many workers and deepened their resolve to fight against GM.

“I can never see the company in the same light again after cutting our health insurance,” said Jeremy Hager, a temporary employee at GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee facility. “That’s just not something you can forget”.

By reinstating the health insurance, many speculate that GM is hoping that GM workers may be able to forgive the company and accept any compromise deal.

However, in a letter to GM, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes continued to blast the company for the move.

“It is time for GM to come to the bargaining table with an offer that reflects the hard work of our members that makes you successful and will settle this strike on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of UAW families and stop toying with our families’ health and well being,” wrote Dittes.

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About the Author

Mike Elk
A Sidney-award winning labor reporter, Mike Elk is the founder of Payday Report and also covers labor and immigration for The Guardian. In 2015, he was illegally fired for union organizing as Politico’s senior labor reporter and used his $70,000 NLRB settlement to start Payday. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh He can be reached at Melk@PaydayReport.com

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