GM has committed to building an electric pickup truck in Detroit in its ongoing attempt to negotiate a new contract with the UAW.
Last Friday, Detroit's WDIV-TV detailed the latest in negotiations between General Motors and the UAW Friday as the two seek to resolve a contract stand-off that currently has more than 45,000 U.S. auto workers on strike nationwide.
As part of this latest round, GM has promised to build an electric pickup truck at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which GM had previously said it would shutter. While this would be good news for the UAW on the surface, a new EV line would likely not fully utilize the existing plant space, meaning GM would not be able to employ as many union workers there as it had in the past.
Detroit-Hamtramck was previously the home of both the Chevrolet Volt PHEV and still produces the Cadillac CT6 and the Chevrolet Impala. When GM announced last fall that Detroit-Hamtramck would be shuttered, it allowed for the possibility that the CT6 might be assembled somewhere else if demand called for it, but that never materialized. 2020 will be the CT6's final model year.
In total, GM offered to commit $9 billion (up from $7 billion previously) to investment in its facilities, with $7.7 billion of that allocated to plants staffed by UAW employees. The remaining $1.3 billion would go to joint ventures, which could ultimately employ both union and non-union workers.
Electric cars have been a sticking point for the UAW for multiple reasons. In addition to the likelihood that their lower volumes would mean fewer production lines and shifts, the UAW is concerned by GM's insistence on entering into joint venture projects or even outsourcing for some major EV components, which would cut union workers out of the equation.
Even a joint venture with some UAW members employed would be a far cry from a fully staffed production line. Picketers at GM's Lordstown facility in Ohio, which was previously home to the now-discontinued Chevrolet Cruze, have cited this exact concern.