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GM temporarily lays off 6,000 workers in Mexico amid UAW strike

By Nicholas Sakelaris & Danielle Haynes

Oct. 1 (UPI) -- General Motors on Tuesday temporarily laid off 6,000 workers at a Mexico plant it idled during the third week of a strike by union workers.

The company said it made the move because of a parts shortage it blamed on the strike, which J.P. Morgan estimates cost GM $1 billion in the third quarter. The Silao, Guanajuato, facility is primarily responsible for assembling the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.

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"Production at GM's Silao assembly and transmission plants has been disrupted as a result of part shortages related to the [United Auto Workers] strike," spokesman Dan Flores said.

The automaker said some employees will use vacation time to cover the temporary layoffs and those who don't have vacation time will receive a fraction of their pay.

RELATED General Motors reinstates healthcare for striking UAW workers

GM sold 142,464 Silverado pickups during the second quarter and 56,857 Sierras.

An estimated 46,000 UAW members are missing paychecks while the union and GM negotiated through the weekend and into Monday. The union workers receive a fraction of their paycheck, about $250 per week, from the UAW while on strike. And that union paycheck hasn't been sent out yet.

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The strike has cost the picketers and workers laid off at GM's supplier network a combined $266 million in lost wages so far, Anderson Economic Group estimated.

RELATED GM strike enters 2nd week, UAW prepared to picket for weeks

"A lot of folks are going to need relief real soon because today's the first day everybody's going to see zeroes," veteran safety trainer Karlton Byas told the Detroit Free Press. "It's probably kind of like a gut punch right now. But some things you have to stand up for and that means sacrifice."

GM is also feeling the strain as the slowed vehicle production drags on longer than expected.

"GM's U.S. production stopped immediately when the UAW walked off the job on Sept. 16 and we estimate its Canadian and Mexican facilities became progressively impacted throughout the first week," J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman said.

RELATED GM-UAW strike enters 3rd day; automaker ends health coverage

J.P. Morgan set a price target of $53 a share with the hope that GM could make up lost production with extra shifts once the strike ends. GM shares traded at $37.48 Monday.

The strike has continued for 16 days.

One reason the talks are taking so long is because the two sides disagree on how they should be conducted. Sources close to the talks said the UAW wants all the negotiators and staff in one room to work on a deal. GM wants to break into smaller groups and committees.

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