DETROIT — A top UAW official on Friday said negotiations with General Motors had resulted in “good progress” on two high-priority issues: health care and a path for temporary workers to become full-time employees.
But other matters, including wages and job security, remained unsettled, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a letter to the more than 46,000 GM workers who have been on strike since Sept. 16.
The latest update was decidedly more optimistic in tone than the letter Dittes sent Tuesday saying that GM was still demanding concessions from the union. The Tuesday letter said health care and temporary employees were among the issues on which GM’s offers “came up short.”
Bargainers planned to continue talking over the weekend toward reaching an agreement, Dittes said. Monday would mark the start of the strike’s fourth week.
In a statement, GM said "we continue to bargain, exchange proposals and make progress toward reaching a tentative agreement.”
Meanwhile, the head of the UAW's Fiat Chrysler Automobiles department said Friday that the two sides continue to make progress as they wait for a tentative deal with GM after which to pattern their own agreement.
Cindy Estrada, the UAW-FCA vice president, encouraged members to support union workers who have been on strike for the past 19 days. She said her team continues to meet daily with FCA at the subcommittee level.
"Some of the committees are close to completing to the point where the only issues left are economic or patterned that will be resolved once the UAW-GM negotiations are settled," Estrada said. "Our current goal is to have all your non-economic and non-institutional demands resolved before our turn to settle comes."
Fiat Chrysler, in a statement released Friday, said: "Bargaining between FCA and the UAW continues with the goal of reaching an agreement that will allow us to continue investing in our future while creating opportunities for our employees, their families and the communities where we live and work. We thank all of our employees for their continued hard work and dedication."
Estrada's comments didn't go as far as those Thursday from Rory Gamble, who said the UAW and Ford were making "significant progress" in their own talks.
While bargainers in the Ford and FCA departments have to wait for GM to set the pattern for the next contract, they can continue to discuss non-economic issues, led by dozens of subcommittees. Such issues range from health and safety to attendance, quality and purchasing.