DETROIT -- General Motors CEO Mary Barra met with top UAW officials Wednesday to help fast-track labor contract negotiations.
Barra and Gerald Johnson, GM's executive vice president of global manufacturing, met with UAW President Gary Jones and Terry Dittes, vice president of the UAW-GM department, according to a UAW spokesman and people familiar with the matter.
Wednesday marked the first time Barra has been formally involved in labor talks since the previous contract expired Sept. 14.
More than 46,000 hourly GM plant workers walked off the job Sept. 16 in a national strike against the automaker. The strike's impact has trickled through the industry. About 75,000 employees of parts suppliers that rely on GM business have been laid off, estimated Anderson Economic Group, a consulting firm in East Lansing, Mich.
The meeting, first reported by The New York Post, came about 50 hours after GM had proposed its latest labor contract and had not received a response from the UAW, according to a person familiar with the talks.
"We continue to talk at all levels," said UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg.
Since the meeting, negotiations have continued.
Both sides exchanged letters Thursday confirming Barra's meeting.
Dittes said the union was working to conclude talks with five subcommittees over outstanding issues and will present a comprehensive proposal to GM once those areas have been addressed. According to Dittes, those areas include: "Statement on Technological Progress, Future of Work, Sourcing, Document 13, CHR Resolution and UAW Legal Services."
In a response, Scott Sandefur, GM's vice president of North America labor relations, voiced frustration, saying GM expected a response by Thursday.
"We object to having bargaining placed on hold pending a resolution of these five areas," he said. "As we have urged repeatedly, we should engage in bargaining over all issues around-the-clock to get an agreement."
Meanwhile, GM will have lost $1.13 billion if the strike extends another three days, according Anderson Economic Group.
That's nearly double the $660 million the firm estimated GM would lose through Oct. 6.
Direct wage losses for all employees will exceed $624 million by Oct. 13, the firm estimates. Analysts estimated that employee losses would exceed $412 million through Oct. 6.
Michael Martinez contributed to this report.