GM Reinstates Dental And Vision Insurance For Striking UAW Members

General Motors says they are reinstating health coverage, including dental and vision insurance, for its striking workers. The company had pulled the plug on healthcare coverage back on Sept.17, but the decision was recently reversed. GM had received public criticism after eliminating their benefits when the strike had started. They said they were concerned about the confusion and have chosen to keep the benefits for over 49,000 employees, so there are no interruptions to medical coverage.

The Company’s actions to terminate medical coverage was irresponsible, and it affected hundreds of United Auto Workers union families. Contract talks were supposed to resume on Wednesday. It’s now 24 days of the national strike against the company, which has cost the automaker as well as line workers millions. Both sides had exchanged proposals with the focus being important labor-related economic issues, including wage increase. Healthcare is also a major issue being discussed in the negotiations.

The lack of commitment by GM has affected many families and the community in general. Apparently, they aren’t committed to talented and skilled workers that have made them billions in profits. In the meantime, over 100 automotive supplier companies have passed some form of temporary layoffs, which affected the salary of 12,000 GM employees all over the nation.  

Contract negotiations were paused last Tuesday with the UAW union charging GM of resisting a commitment to build products in the United States. General Motors has 33 manufacturing sites in the United States and 4 in Mexico. The company has 16,000 hourly employees in Mexico compared to 46,000 in the USA.

Back on Sept. 15, the UAW said their GM members will strike, and gave some details of the proposal offer two hours before the contract’s deadline, which included the creation of 5,400 jobs and a $7 billion investment into eight of the GM facilities.  

Contract talks are happening during a federal investigation. Federal agents are investigating whether UAW funds were used to build a lakefront home for retired UWA President Dennis Williams. The government is trying to determine whether money from GM was funneled through mutually operated centers. The expenses include a $10 million Black Lake renovation project approved by the UAW board.

Strikes can by physically and emotionally demanding for the participants, and the costs keep growing steadily affecting not only individuals, but also the economy in several states as workers, whether in the union or not, suffer wage losses. Just three weeks after the strike, 25,000 salaried GM workers were affected. GM had lost an average of $660 million in profits, and its employees lost $412 million in wages – a $155 million lost in federal tax revenue and $9.1 in State tax revenue.