UAW Leadership Gives GM Agreement the Thumbs-up; Workers to Decide Whether to End Strike

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

As the UAW-GM strike closes out its fifth week, workers now hold the power of determining when it will end. Late Thursday, the UAW National General Motors Council recommended ratification of the tentative agreement forged a day earlier, tossing the ball into the workers’ court.

While the strike continues, some members claim they’ll reject the contract unless GM reopens mothballed assembly plants — an unlikely scenario, given that the suddenly thrifty automaker has already reversed course on the closure of Detroit-Hamtramck. That plant is now tapped for GM’s Ford-fighting electric pickup.

In a release, the UAW says the ratification process will kick off October 19th, with voting ending on the 25th.

“Ultimately, UAW members will make the decision to ratify the agreement. Their unity and solidarity brought us to this moment,” said UAW Vice President Terry Dittes in a statement.

The tentative agreement delivers a number of desired perks for UAW members, including increased pay, lump sum payments, and signing bonuses, plus status quo health care and a pathway to full-time hourly status for temporary workers. It also keeps Detroit-Hamtramck, currently home to the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6, open for business, pending arrival of the EV pickup.

That’s not good enough for workers cast out of Lordstown Assembly earlier this year. Workers ousted from the shuttered Ohio plant want to see more domestic-built product and a reduction in Mexican assembly, vowing to shoot down any contract deal until their demands are met. As the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday, they made their feelings known to UAW brass at GM’s Renaissance Center HQ.

In response, GM pointed out two initiatives not covered under the tentative agreement. “Projects planned for the Mahoning Valley include the opportunity to bring battery cell production to the area, which would create approximately 1,000 manufacturing jobs, as well as the sale of the GM Lordstown Complex to Lordstown Motors Corp., a new company that plans to build electric pickups for commercial fleet customers,” the automaker stated.

That company is a venture partially owned by Workhorse, a fledgling Ohio manufacturer we’ve covered in the past. Currently unprofitable, Workhorse aims to buy the plant and initially employ 400 workers. That’s far less than Lordstown employed even with a single Chevrolet Cruze shift.

As for Detroit-Hamtramck, GM proposes a $3 billion investment, Automotive News reports. It’s a hefty chunk of the total $9 million plant investments listed in the tentative agreement, with the money going to support production of electric pickups, vans, and battery packs.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 20, 2019

    HDC--Also agree that that the implementation time from design to production will need to be shortened. Actually 5 years is too long to react to market changes. Plants will need to be more adaptable and react quicker to shifts in the market.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Oct 20, 2019

      Jeff S, I believe that Toyota has the design philosophy of "If it works, don't redesign it." This seems to apply mostly to their mechanical and running gear which carry on unchanged year after year and decade after decade. What gets long in the tooth with Toyota products is the exterior and interior styling. OTOH, the gaping maw styling of their vehicles today don't do a thing for me. And yet, this repulsive styling continues to maintain its retained value in the used car market place. Most people looking to buy a used Toyota product are stunned by what they cost. Comparing similar products from GM, Ford, Fiatsler, Nissan, BMW, VW, and others, their retained value is the pits.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 20, 2019

    @highdesertcat--That is Toyota's philosophy but not all car manufacturers. Since you mentioned Toyota my neighbor bought a new 2019 Rav4 FWD and sold me his Lacrosse. His Rav4 is not nearly as nice as our CRV but he is happy. I noticed the interior of his Rav4 has more hard plastics and there are more gaps than our 2013 CRV. Toyotas are reliable but I would rather have a Honda--just my preference. My wife and I love the Buick.

  • Arthur Dailey Have to admit that I love that interior colour. And also like the upholstery on the seats and the inside of the door panels. And when was the last time you saw a door hanging coffee cup holder? Some here probably didn't know that such a device existed.
  • Buickman this is about cars. I miss Robert.
  • 28-Cars-Later Can we end debt slavery next? Its getting to the point where its no longer voluntary.
  • Carson D Honda and Toyota still make the best American cars.
  • Slavuta I just though, with this rate we could make Cinco De Mayo a national holiday as well. Since we have tens of millions of American Mexicans, and probably more than African Americans