General Motors CEO Mary Barra joined negotiators at the bargaining table, an indication that a deal may be near to end a monthlong strike by members of the United Auto Workers union that has paralyzed its factories.
Barra and GM President Mark Reuss were in the bargaining room early Tuesday, a person briefed on the talks said. But it was not clear if they remained in negotiations, said the person, who didn't want to be identified because the talks are confidential.
The appearance of two key executives is a strong sign that bargainers are closing in on a contract agreement that would end the strike, which began on Sept. 16.
Another person briefed on the talks says the only issues that remain are faster pay increases for workers hired after 2007, apprenticeships for skilled trades workers, and the specifics of winding down a joint union-company training center. The person also didn't want to be identified because the talks are ongoing.
Both sides are under pressure to end the walkout, which has cost GM close to $2 billion in profits and forced workers to live on $250 per week, about one fifth of their base pay. Last week, with the strike dragging on, the union said it would increase strike pay to $275 per week.
The union has summoned its national council of factory-level leaders to Detroit for a meeting Thursday that was billed as an update on contract talks. The group must vote on any tentative agreement, and it also will decide if workers should return to their jobs before or after they vote on the deal.