With contract expiration days away, UAW targets GM first for negotiations

'We are all ready to stand up for our members, our communities and our manufacturing future'

The United Auto Workers union on Tuesday said that it would target General Motors as the first of the Detroit automakers for talks ahead of the current four-year contract's expiration on Sept. 14.

This year's contract talks between the union and GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV are expected to be contentious as U.S. new vehicle sales are slowing and automakers face rising costs associated with the development of electric vehicles and self-driving cars.

Rising healthcare costs, job security, profit sharing and the use of temporary workers are expected to be major sticking points.

GM in particular has been a target of union ire since announcing the closure of five North American plants late last year.

That move drew a wave of criticism, including from U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump has repeatedly prodded GM and last week said the No. 1 U.S. automaker should begin moving its operations in China back to the United States.

"We are prepared and we are all ready to stand up for our members, our communities and our manufacturing future," UAW President Gary Jones said in a statement.

In a statement, GM said, "We look forward to having constructive discussions with the UAW on reaching an agreement that builds a strong future for our employees and our business."

The contracts come at a difficult time for the UAW, as a federal corruption investigation into the union continues to grow.

Last week, the FBI conducted searches at Jones' home, a union retreat and multiple other locations, including the home of the union's previous president, Dennis Williams.

To date, seven people linked to the union and the automaker have been sentenced in the government's corruption investigation.

Reporting by Nick Carey.

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