GM Strike: UAW says automaker should have made latest offer sooner

Talks between General Motors and United Auto Workers resumed Monday after UAW workers shut down 33 manufacturing plants across the U.S. as well as 22 parts distribution warehouses in a nationwide strike against on Sunday night.

Continue Reading Below

It is the first strike against GM in 12 years. More than 49,000 UAW members walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday.

UAW continues to demand a bigger share in the company's profits, including through annual pay raises.

FOX Business spoke with striking autoworkers in Detroit.

GM autoworker Patricia Brown said her biggest fear was "that we might be here for a while... and we can't make it on $250 a week [from the strike fund]. You know, GM might not want to budge. So I'm just here trying to prove a point, that's it."

Celso Duque, also a GM autoworker, said the company's offer to put $7 billion in U.S. factory investments was already a "given."

"They have to invest that, because if they don't, how are they going to make money?" he said.

Union officials say both sides are far apart in the talks, while GM says it has made significant offers.

"They are making record profits. I feel as though we should have fair wages. They just need to stand up and do what’s right by us," Wiley Turnage, president of UAW Local 22 in Detroit, told FOX Business.

"We're not asking for a whole lot," Turnage continued.  "We just want to be able to take our families on vacation. We have kids and stuff -- go to school. And it would be devastating for the communities where the four plants they’re talking about shutting down. So we're just asking for them to keep the plant open. We're looking for job security."

On Sunday, President Trump tweeted for the two sides to make a deal.

Trump is not the only politician who has weighed in on the topic. Democratic presidential candidates including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro expressed support for the workers.

"The CEO of GM made nearly $22 million dollars last year—281 times the median GM worker. I stand with the 46,000 UAW members who have moved to strike, fighting for affordable health care and fair wages. GM can afford to do right by them," Castro wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also expressed solidarity with the workers.

"Incredibly inspired by GM’s almost 50,000 workers for having the courage to strike for the dignified work they deserve. In a time of record profits, workers should prosper, not suffer. That's why unions play a key role in an economy that works for everyone. Solidarity w/ UAW," she wrote on Twitter on Monday, adding a rose emoji to the end of her post (the rose is a commonly used symbol for the Democratic Socialists of America).

GM says it presented what it believes was a "strong offer" including improved wages and benefits and investments in eight facilities in four states.

The strike will affect GM plants in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, New York, Texas and elsewhere in the U.S.

Cox Automotive calculated on Wednesday that GM has about a 77-day supply of cars, trucks and SUVs.

"If a strike occurs, GM has enough inventory on the ground so as not to hinder sales in the short run. Strong sales in August helped trim overall industry inventories to the lowest level in three years, according to Cox Automotive data, but GM's inventories remain healthy and even above industry average," according to commentary from Cox.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said on Sunday that its members won't be transporting GM vehicles during the UAW strike.

The strike comes days after UAW official Vance Pearson was charged Thursday with corruption in an alleged scheme to embezzle union money and spend cash on premium booze, golf clubs, cigars and swanky stays in California. UAW President Gary Jones is identified as one of the co-conspirators in a criminal complaint accusing Pearson of misconduct, according to the Detroit Free Press, citing a source with knowledge of the case.

Trump and GM chief executive Mary Barra met at the White House on Sept. 5 to talk about issues including the union contract dissussions. Barra described the meeting as "productive and valuable."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

The Associated Press contributed to this article.