October 14, 2019 / 11:12 PM / 2 months ago

UAW calls Thursday meeting to update union leaders on GM strike talks: sources

FILE PHOTO: A "UAW On Strike" sign is seen during a rally outside the shuttered General Motors Lordstown Assembly plant during the United Auto Workers national strike in Lordstown, Ohio, U.S. September 20, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

DETROIT (Reuters) - The union representing the 48,000 workers who have been striking General Motors Co for about a month have scheduled a meeting on Thursday to update the leaders of the various union locals from around the country on the status of the talks, several people familiar with the plans said on Monday.

The sides have not reached a tentative agreement that would end the strike, but progress has been made and the United Auto Workers leadership will give an update at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks continue. The meeting will take place in the Detroit building where GM is based, the people said.

“It’s time to have a conversation one way or the other,” one person said.

UAW and GM representatives said talks are scheduled again for Tuesday but declined further comment.

The UAW strike began on Sept. 16, with the union’s members at GM seeking higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of profit and protection of healthcare benefits.

After GM angered the UAW negotiators last week by appealing directly to workers and revealing details of the No. 1 U.S. automaker’s latest offer, the sides have continued talking. The UAW made a counter offer to GM on Friday.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a research note on Monday that investors with whom he has spoken are “comfortable” with an extended strike and potential upfront multibillion-dollar impact as long as GM preserves its long-term financial and strategic flexibility.

While a prolonged strike could trigger a credit rating agency downgrade on the company’s debt, Jonas said most investors he has spoken with would accept that if the company retained an investment-grade rating.

Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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