Is GM's $5.4-billion investment an olive branch to UAW?


A report that General Motors Co. has announced plans to invest $5.4 billion in its U.S. plants over the next three years hit all the major business news media today. A report from Reuters quoted Cathy Clegg, GM North American manufacturing chief, as saying that the "common thread" among GM's investments "is the focus on product improvements," and adding that "the overall investments would create 650 jobs and retain more than 15,000 existing positions."

Reuters noted that this announcement "comes as GM and the United Auto Workers union gear up for negotiations on a new master contract this fall for roughly 50,000 U.S. hourly workers. UAW leaders have pushed for the Detroit automakers to invest in union-represented factories."

GM has slated about $784 million of the total investment for three Michigan plants, and release information about the remaining investment later, according to Reuters. "The Detroit company said it will spend $520 million on tooling and equipment for new vehicle programs at its Lansing Delta Township assembly plant, $139.5 for a new body shop and stamping facility at pre-production operations in Warren, MI, and $124 million at the Pontiac, MI, stamping plant, where top executives will make the announcement," said Reuters.

"Separately, GM is weighing a $1.3 billion investment in its large SUV plant in Arlington, Texas, that would add 589 jobs."

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