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UAW union announces national strike to begin Sunday following contract negotiations with GM

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) — The United Auto Workers union and General Motors have failed to come to a tentative contract agreement, and the UAW announced a national strike to begin at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

The union and GM have been negotiating a new contract for months, and on Sept. 3, the UAW selected GM as the first of the Big 3 to begin negotiating.

“We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most. Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our Members, their families and the communities where we work and live,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said.

Also on Sept. 3, UAW members voted to authorize a strike amid the negotiations, with more than 96 percent of GM UAW workers approving a strike. IT was also 96 percent for Fiat Chrysler and nearly 96 percent for Ford.

Workers said the strike is to secure “fair wages, affordable health care, share profits, job security and a defined path to permanent seniority for temps.”

“We told UAW GM members that we would stand up for them and their future,” said Gary Jones, president of the UAW.

National Bargaining Committee Chair Ted Krumm, of UAW Local 652, added, “We have been clear at the table about what GM members have indicated we will accept. We are standing up for what is right. We as local unions will sacrifice to stand up for what we deserve.”

In 2015, the union and automakers struck a last-minute deal for a new four-year contract, which did expire at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

Last year, GM announced plans to close four plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland, which didn’t sit well with the union.

Earlier this year, union leaders and the heads of the Big 3 held ceremonial handshakes to mark the start of contract talks.

During the events surrounding those handshakes, union officials said they considered this their “make up year” where they would recoup some of what they agreed to give up as Chrysler and GM went through bankruptcy. They say the automakers need to share the wealth as they make big profits over the last few years.

However, auto company executives say those profits are offset by expenses as they prep the next generation electric and self driving cars.

The vote also comes amid an FBI, IRS and Department of Labor investigation into bribery allegations among UAW presidents across the country.

Earlier this month, agents raided UAW President Gary Jones’ home in Canton Township as part of the nationwide investigation.

Then, this week, a regional director was charged with embezzling funds from the UAW for hundreds of thousands of dollars in golf equipment, cigars, villa rentals and more.

Vance Pearson, the region 5 director, is the 10th person charged in the federal investigation.

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