DETROIT -- The UAW's lead negotiator said Sunday that talks with General Motors have "taken a turn for the worse."
The surprise negative development followed reports of progress in recent days and adds more uncertainty to when the UAW's 3-week-old strike against GM might come to an end.
In fact, a person close to the talks told the Free Press that the bargaining had turned somewhat sour as GM walked back what had been a proposed solution for temporary workers.
Health care, as of Saturday, was resolved, meaning it would not change or cost members more. But the person said the union considers GM's last two proposals to be like ultimatums.
In a letter to union members around 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Terry Dittes, vice president for the UAW GM Department, said that the UAW on Saturday afternoon had prepared an extensive proposal and presented it to GM.
"Our proposal addressed issues of wages, signing bonus, job security, pensions, skilled trades, profit sharing, transfer rights; to name just a few," Dittes said.
GM responded at 9:05 a.m. Sunday, Dittes said.
"The company's response did not address our extensive package provided last evening," Dittes wrote. "They reverted back to their last rejected proposal and made little change. The company's response did nothing to advance a whole host of issues that are important to you and your families! It did nothing to provide job security during the term of this agreement."
He wrote that the union, "could not be more disappointed with General Motors who refuse to recognize the experience and talent of our membership who make their world class products and billions of dollars in profits."
Dittes said that after making progress on key issues "a couple days ago, the company has shown an unwillingness to fairly compensate the great workforce of the UAW. These negotiations have taken a turn for the worse. Your issues are our issues, and our strength is with you, our great membership. We will continue to negotiate on behalf of you, your families and all workers in our country."