DETROIT (AP) — Union and company bargainers are making progress toward a new contract as a strike by United Auto Workers that brought 33 General Motors factories to a halt continued into its third day.
Committees working on thorny issues such as wages, health insurance costs, use of temporary workers, and new work for plants slated to close worked until early evening Tuesday and are scheduled to resume bargaining early Wednesday.
The 33 plants includes the company’s Spring Hill Manufacturing plant in Spring Hill.
UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said the talks were moving slowly but progressing.
More than 49,000 workers walked off their jobs on Monday in a dispute over the union’s quest to get a bigger share of GM’s profits and the company’s goal of cutting labor costs so they’re closer to those at U.S. auto plants run by foreign companies.
Health care costs and giving temporary workers a clear path to permanent jobs were two major sticking points in talks toward a new four-year contract.
On the picket lines, many workers were hoping for a quick resolution, but said they’re willing to stay out as long as needed.
“I can’t see this lasting too long,” said machinist Clarence Trinity as he carried a union sign at GM’s engine and transmission factory in the Detroit suburb of Romulus, Michigan. “Both sides are losing bad.”
Citi analyst Itay Michaeli, in a note to investors, estimated that the strike is costing the company $100 million per day in earnings. However, GM has enough inventory to supply dealers for 77 days at the current sales pace, although it’s running lower on big SUVs, according to Cox Automotive.
If the strike ends soon, GM will be able to crank up production to make up for lost production time and mitigate some of the losses. But if it lasts more than a week, it will start to affect production in Canada and Mexico, putting more pressure on GM’s inventory. If supplies dwindle, consumers may go to other brands, costing GM sales and market share.
GM and the union are negotiating at a time of troubling uncertainty for the U.S. auto industry.
GM is facing weakening sales, a deteriorating global economy and an unpredictable trade war as it tries to keep its labor costs in check through 2023. But workers want a bigger share of GM’s healthy profits, which totaled more than $30 billion in the past five years.
Driven up by the longest economic expansion in American history, auto sales appear to have peaked and are heading down. Long-term challenges also loom: GM and other carmakers are struggling to make the transition to electric vehicles.
Gary Chaison, professor emeritus of industrial relations at Clark University in Massachusetts, expects the strike to end within a week. He sees it as more of a message to show how effective the union is, especially for nonunion workers who might be asked to join the UAW.
GM’s offers, he said, seem to be pretty good, so the strike is a mystery to him. “I can’t see a prolonged strike coming out of this,” he said. “I think there’s too much to lose and not enough to gain.”
Authorities ID Tennessee man fatally shot by police
ELIZABETHTON (AP) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released the identity of a man shot and killed by officers this week.
News outlets report 33-year-old Jeffrey Michael Gibble, of Johnson City, was killed early Monday in the shooting by Elizabethton police.
A TBI statement says an officer on routine patrol saw “suspicious activity” around 2 a.m. Monday and asked a man to identify himself. It says the man instead fled on foot with the officer in pursuit.
It says another officer caught up with the man and attempted to take him into custody, but the man pulled out a gun and fired at the officer. It says both officers then returned fire, striking the man.
Police Chief Jason Shaw says the officers are on administrative leave as the TBI investigates.
to create 150 more jobs
DYERSBURG — A company that produces transformers is planning to invest $12 million in an expansion in Tennessee that is expected to create 150 jobs.
The state Department of Economic and Community Development says ERMCO, Inc. will grow its operations in Dyersburg, where the company currently has its headquarters. ERMCO plans to expand to a third building and will add 8,000 more square feet to the facility, which used to house Caterpillar.
ERMCO is a large-scale producer of oil-filled distribution transformers and transformer components. The company is a subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. and has been operating in Dyersburg since 1971.
Residents ask state to test particles near TVA plant
CLINTON — Some residents living near a coal-fired power plant in Tennessee have asked the state to investigate unidentified particles they say are coating their homes.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the fine particles have fallen from the sky onto cars, driveways and mailboxes near the Tennessee Valley Authority Bull Run Fossil Plant in Anderson County.
A spokeswoman with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation says the agency is investigating.
Anderson County Commission Chairman Tracy Wandell and some residents worry the substance may be coal ash.
TVA spokesman Scott Brooks says the plant has state-of-the-art equipment to limit particulate matter. He says plant personnel checked the equipment and didn’t find anything to indicate the particles residents have seen came from the plant.
FedEx lowers full-year
outlook; stocks tumble
NEW YORK — FedEx shares tumbled after the delivery giant blamed slowing economic growth and trade tension for a disappointing quarter and cut its forecast of full-year earnings.
Shares were down $23.67, or 13.7%, to $149.63 in afternoon trading Wednesday. That’s the stock’s worst one-day percentage drop since the depths of the recession in 2008.
FedEx is hurt by a slowdown in international air shipping and higher costs in its ground-delivery business.
The company said late Tuesday that profit fell 11% to $745 million in its fiscal first quarter, missing Wall Street expectations. It predicted full-year adjusted earnings of $11 to $13 per share, well below analysts’ $14.68 prediction.
UBS analyst Thomas Wadewitz says pressure on FedEx profit margins is likely to increase and there’s no relief in sight for high capital spending.
Police sued by victim family over car chase crash
NASHVILLE — The family of a bystander killed in the crash of a car being chased by officers in downtown Nashville is suing the police department.
The Tennessean reports Arkansas State University senior Corey Joseph Taylor was visiting the city last year. Authorities said a man in a stolen car trying to escape pursuing officers drove over a curb and fatally struck him.
The lawsuit accuses Nashville police of being partially at fault because they chased the suspect, Nafarious Howard, at high speeds on a busy street. The crash happened one block from the nightlife hub of Broadway Street.
Police say they chased Howard for about 30 seconds. Howard is charged with felony murder.
The paper reports the city’s legal department didn’t comment on the suit.