After more than 20 straight hours of talks, negotiators for the United Auto Workers and General Motors face a strike deadline of 11 am this morning. In past years that would prompt people to say, "uh oh, there's gonna be a nasty strike".
But this time, what I hear from those close to the talks is different. There's a sense that there will be a deal announced at or just before 11. The healthcare issue, with GM setting up a separate fund that will be run by the UAW has been largely agreed upon. So have many of the side issues involving work rules, etc. So what's the hold -up?
I think the UAW is using every last bit of leverage to get the final pieces it needs to seal the deal and sell it to the membership. UAW president Ron Gettlefinger is a shrewd negotiator and his people are trying to get as much as they can from an automaker that is playing hardball as it looks to cut costs.