Pressure is on GM, UAW as workers wager striking during contract negotiations

As the clock rolls to 11:59pm on Saturday night, the first sign of a strike between the UAW and GM may come with cleaning crews walking off the job first.

The automaker has a contract with Aramark to manage five GM sites, three of them in Flint and the GM Tech Center in Warren. Aamraks contract expires at the same time as the UAW contract does. 

If cleaning crews walk off the job, GM workers may refuse to cross the line. And if they do, that could signal a UAW strike. But there's much more to the conversation with UAW leadership under intense scrutiny.

"GM isn't going to give them some sort of a sweetheart of a contract just because the union leadership is being faced with all these corruption charges," said Auto Analyst John Mcelroy.

Several leaders at UAW, including its president have been caught up in corruption and embezzlement charges.   

"If the union is my client, I'm saying 'the focus is on you, say something,'" said Matt Friedman, public relations strategist with Tanner Friedman.  

Friedman said the corruption charges change things for more than the union, but for GM as well. 

"It's also tough for GM from a public perception," Friedman said. "Let's say there is an outcome of the negotiation, can GM shareholders trust that outcome given what's in the air here?"

Sources tell FOX 2 that as of Friday afternoon, negotiations between the two groups are ongoing. The sticking points include: health care, base wage increase, the idling of four U.S. plants and temporary workers wanting to become permanent. 

In response to the potential strike, GM has beefed up its inventory of trucks and SUVS in the event their workers do walk out.

Buckling down for the intense talks, the UAW put out an extension on Friday to its contracts with FCA and Ford as they concentrate on GM. Two-hundred union officers are expected in Detroit this weekend. 

Both analysts agree, the most important intangible present in these discussion is trust, or lack thereof.

"In a membership organization, trust and leadership is everything. That's what members are paying for every time they pay their dues," Friedman said. "How can they have trust in their leadership to represent them at the bargaining table when they can't trust their leadership to even manage their dues?" 

"This is also going to put pressure on the car companies, GM being first in line because if the membership doesn't trust their leaders, they may just reject any contract out of hand," said Mcelroy.