WASHINGTON: General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra met personally with senior United Auto Workers officials to discuss the No. 1 US automaker’s most recent proposal to end a more than three-week-old strike that has cost it over $1 billion in lost profits, a union spokesman said on Thursday.
Barra met with UAW President Gary Jones and senior union negotiator Terry Dittes on Wednesday at a time when GM had not yet received a formal response to a new offer made Monday morning, sources briefed on the matter said.
GM declined to comment.
“There was no secret meeting. There was a meeting (between Barra and Jones and Dittes) and we continue to meet at all levels,” UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said.
The strike at the biggest US carmaker began on Sept. 16, with its 48,000 UAW members seeking higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of the automaker’s profit and protection of healthcare benefits.
Apart from costing GM more than $1 billion, the work stoppage has forced it to idle operations along with nearly 10,000 workers in Canada and Mexico.
On Sunday, the UAW said the talks took a “turn for the worse” and on Tuesday urged GM to boost US vehicle production.
The meeting lasted more than 30 minutes and took place at GM’s headquarters, where negotiations are ongoing. Barra’s goal was to get the talks moving again, the sources said.
Anderson Economic Group said Thursday GM has lost $1.13 billion in profits since the strike began, while employees have lost more than $624 million in wages.
GM shares were up about 1.1% in Thursday afternoon trading.
The meeting was reported earlier by the New York Post.