UAW, GM Reach Tentative Agreement That Could End Strike

WWJ News
October 16, 2019 - 3:01 pm

(WWJ) General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union have reached a tentative agreement that could end a monthlong strike.

People close to the talks say the deal includes $9 billion in investment in U.S. plants, signing bonuses exceeding the $8,000 workers got four years ago, plus annual pay raises and lump-sum bonuses over the life of the contract. 

Union leaders will vote on the agreement Thursday, and if approved it would be put up for a ratification vote among all workers. 

While all of the details haven't yet been released, union leadership says the deal "represents major gains for UAW workers."

“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, Director of the UAW GM Department.  

“We are extremely grateful to the thousands of Americans who donated goods and helped our striking workers and their families," he added. "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."

The strike, involving nearly 50,000 UAW workers across the U.S, has been costing the automaker anywhere from $80 million to $100 million a day from lost production, according to analysts.

Meanwhile, workers have been scaling back at the grocery store, giving up eating out and some took part time jobs while struggling to get by on strike pay of $275 per week.

Outside the GM Tech Center in Warren, WWJ's Ron Dewey reported workers picketing in the chilly rain "weren't quite jumping for joy" at Wednesday's news.

They're not sure what yet they will be voting on, if anything.

"It's been a struggle," said one man, who declined to give his name. "But, I'm hanging in there; get a regular pack check." 

A bit more optimistic, UAW member Larry Extrum said he's sure it's a fair deal that will get them back to work soon. 

"We've been fighting this long, and our union never gave up on us. So I'm assuming they got all they could for us," he said. 

While progress was reported in talks last weekend, issues remaining unsettled into this week concerning wages, pensions and temporary employees. A source told WWJ that GM has agreed to leave workers' share of health costs as they are, with the average worker paying 28% of health care costs. 

Hope that an end to the strike was in sight surged Tuesday when a meeting called for Thursday in Detroit, with and factory-level union officials flown in from around the country set to meet with UAW leaders. 

WWJ's Auto Beat Reporter Jeff Gilbert says, along with voting at the meeting, they're expected to decide whether to send members back to work right away, or following a ratification vote. 

The national strike -- which shut down 33 manufacturing plants in nine states, plus 22 parts-distribution warehouses -- was the first by the UAW since a two-day walkout in 2007. It's estimated that, in total, GM has lost over $1.6 billion since employees walked off the job at midnight Sept.15.

Workers remained on the picket lines Wednesday

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