By Gregory LopesThousands of General Motors autoworkers went on strike nationwide yesterday after talks between the automotive giant and the United Auto Workers union on a new labor contract broke down.
It is the first nationwide autoworkers strike since 1976 . . .
Health care costs are another sticking point. The nation's largest auto manufacturer wants to cut rising labor and health care costs, and the union is determined to protect pay and benefits of the 73,000 members at GM's 82 plants and warehouses. UAW membership has shrunk by two-thirds over the past three decades.
"The auto industry plays a less important role than it has in the past. But what"s important is what this says about health care benefits and health insurance," said Mike Davis, a professor and economist with Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business.
"The impact on GM will be negligible if it"s a short strike. However, there is a new reality facing companies: Employers can no longer afford the great benefits they promised to employees."
The shutdown will cost GM about 12,200 vehicles in the U.S. each day to start, CSM Worldwide Inc. estimated. That may spread to more than 18,100 a day counting Canada and Mexico.
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