GM chief Mary Barra reportedly taking part in contract talks with UAW

General Motors Co. chief executive Mary Barra and president Mark Reuss reportedly took part in contract talks with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union on Tuesday, as the strike of 48,000 U.S. hourly workers enters its second month.

On Monday, the UAW scheduled a meeting on Thursday morning to update local union representatives on the status of the talks, sources previously said. The sides have not reached a tentative agreement that would end the strike, but progress has been made.

GM declined to comment on the involvement of the No. 1 U.S. automaker’s top two executives in the talks. A UAW spokesperson declined to 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 health-care benefits. Other issues include the fate of plants GM has indicated could close and the use of temporary workers.

After GM angered the UAW negotiators last week by appealing directly to workers and revealing details of the Detroit automaker’s latest offer, the sides have continued talking. The UAW made a counter offer to GM on Friday.

GM shares were up 2 per cent in midday trading.

The Center for Automotive Research in Michigan has estimated the strike’s weekly costs to GM and the UAW strike fund at $450 million US and $12 million, respectively.

The strike has led to hundreds of temporary job cuts at GM’s Ontario locations, though production restarted last week at the company’s assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont.

In addition, suppliers are feeling the effects of the work stoppage.

Guelph, Ont.-based parts producer Linamar Corp. has said the strike was costing it about $1 million Cdn a day, while Canadian-based auto parts giants Magna International Inc. and Martinrea International Inc. are also being impacted in terms of lost revenue.

The strike has also seen production at two plants in Mexico halted.