The UAW is reportedly mulling the idea of a "no confidence" vote on GM CEO Mary Barra, perhaps to try and get a leg up on negotiations with the company, according to the NY Post.
The UAW's strike has caused 46,000 workers at 34 plants nationwide to step off the job and is entering its 17th day.
No vote is imminent, according to sources, and a no-confidence vote by the UAW wouldn't carry any force with GM or its board. Instead, it's a way to posture and put pressure on Barra, who has made a name for herself as a tough negotiator during her time at the company.
The UAW believes that Barra may have been the one to personally backtrack on a decision to pull back healthcare for striking workers. Some union executives believe that Barra flip flopped on the decision for fear of bad publicity when the UAW sought to held her personally accountable.
A source told the NY Post: “Internally, there was this theory to stop looking at GM as a corporation and start looking at Mary, because they got the win on health care. And it was her decision.”
Jon Shelton, an associate professor at University of Wisconsin – Green Bay said of the vote: “I can’t imagine a scenario where there would be anything binding about it besides another way to draw attention to the leadership of the company. I have to say, a no-confidence vote in a CEO is not used as a tactic too often.”
UAW workers remain on strike, which we first reported in mid September. GM workers last went on strike during contract talks in 2007. That strike only last two days, but a more serious strike occurred in Flint, Michigan, in 1998, lasted 54 days and costing the No. 1 US automaker more than $2 billion.
The union has been struggling to stop GM from closing plants in Ohio and Michigan while arguing that workers deserve higher pay after years of record profits.
Though, at the same time, there is an ongoing (and widening) Federal probe into union corruption that resulted in UAW President Gary Jones' home being searched last week by federal officials (he has not been charged). That investigation has already resulted in convictions of eight union and company officials associated with Fiat.
Charges were also filed against Michael Grimes, a former UAW official who was assigned to GM's department and who allegedly took $2 million in kickbacks from UAW vendors.
GM insists that it needs to shutter the plants for economic reasons, and that UAW wages and benefits are too high to compete with non-union auto plants in the south.
Analysts have estimated that, as a result, GM has suffered losses of more than $1 billion. Striking workers rely on weekly paychecks of just $250 while on strike.