GM, UAW Reach Tentative Agreement
After 31 days on the picket line, UAW-affiliated General Motors workers could soon be back in the business of building vehicles. Wednesday morning, the United Auto Workers and GM announced that their bargaining teams had reached a tentative agreement — one the UAW says includes “major gains” for its members.
All signs earlier this week pointed to a looming deal. On Tuesday, GM CEO Mary Barra and President Mark Reuss sat in on negotiations, while the UAW called its local union leaders to Detroit for a Thursday meeting.
“The elected national negotiators voted to recommend the UAW GM National Council accept the Proposed Tentative Agreement as the agreement represents major gains for UAW workers,” the UAW stated in a release.
GM backed up the message, stating only, “We can confirm the UAW’s statement regarding a proposed tentative agreement. Additional details will be provided at the appropriate time.”
Local union bosses will vote on the tentative agreement tomorrow at the UAW’s national council meeting, potentially securing an end to a five-week strike that cost GM $2 billion in lost revenue, according to Bank of America estimates.
“The number one priority of the national negotiation team has been to secure a strong and fair contract that our members deserve,” said UAW Vice President Terry Dittes in a release. Out of respect for our members, we will refrain from commenting on the details until the UAW GM leaders gather together and receive all details.”
He added, “We are extremely grateful to the thousands of Americans who donated goods and helped our striking workers and their families. As we await the Council’s decision, please know that the outpouring of community and national support will be etched in the memories of all of us at the UAW for years to come.”
Among other things, a deal hinged on maintaining the generous health coverage seen in the last contract, as well as a pathway for temporary workers to secure seniority. The issue of job security focused on model allocation to U.S. plants and retaining assembly sites slated for closure.
Last November, GM announced the impending closure of two assembly plants (Lordstown Assembly and Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly) and parts and transmission plants in Maryland and Michigan. Lordstown closed its doors this spring; Detroit-Hamtramck is slated to go dark in January. The fate of those plants lies in the contract details.
While the details of the collective agreement remain unknown, a source told The Detroit News that the deal includes a $8,000 ratification bonus for UAW members.
As for the strike, tomorrow’s meeting will determine whether the walkout ends after the approval of local union heads, or upon ratification by members.
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