UAW, GM reach deal to end strike
GM and the United Auto Workers union have reached a deal to end a month-long strike.
Chris Isidore and Vanessa Yurkevich reported the news for CNN:
Negotiators from General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative deal to end a 31-day strike by nearly 50,000 workers.
Details of the agreement were not immediately available. The deal was confirmed by Terry Dittes, the UAW’s chief negotiator with GM.
The tentative agreement needs the approval of both union leadership as well as the rank-and-file union members at GM before it can take effect. UAW officials from across the country were already set to meet in Detroit on Thursday. That had been taken as a sign that the two sides were getting close to a deal.
It is not yet certain when workers will start returning to work. The union statement say it will be decided at Thursday’s meeting whether they should return to work or remain on strike until the rank-and-file ratification vote takes place. The ratification process can take a week or more to complete.
“The No. 1 priority of the national negotiation team has been to secure a strong and fair contract that our members deserve,” said Dittes.
The strike has been the largest at a US business since the last strike at GM in 2007. But that strike was over within three days. This has been the longest major strike in the auto industry in more than 20 years.
Michael Wayland wrote for CNBC that the deal involves raises of 3-4%:
Details of the proposed four-year deal were not disclosed. However, the union’s members with GM are expected to receive raises of 3% to 4% or lump-sum bonuses each year as part of the accord. The deal also will include the addition or retention of 9,000 hourly U.S. jobs and a “clear path” for temporary workers with three or more years to become full-time employees, according to two people briefed on the pact.
The company’s shares jumped by about 2.5% in morning trading before leveling off to close up by just over 1% at $36.65 a share. The stock of crosstown rival Ford Motor was flat, closing at $9.07 a share.
Under the deal, GM also will invest at least $9 billion in its manufacturing operations over the life of the contract, including production of an all-electric pickup for a plant in Detroit that was potentially slated for closure. UAW members also are expected to maintain their health insurance, which is considered “gold standard” and requires employees to cover roughly 3% of the total costs, according to one person familiar with the talks.
AP’s Tom Krisher GM noted has no cause for joy:
Details of the four-year pact weren’t released, but GM’s latest offer to end the monthlong strike included wage increases and lump-sum payments, top-notch health insurance at little cost to workers, promises of new products for many U.S. factories and a path to full-time work for temporary workers.
That’s a big difference from what GM wanted going into the talks: to slash total labor costs at its factories, which are about $13 per hour higher than at foreign automakers in the U.S.
Terry Dittes, the UAW’s chief bargainer with GM, said the deal offers “major gains” for 49,000 union workers who have been walking picket lines since Sept. 16. They’ll stay off work for at least a couple more days while union committees decide if they will bless the deal. Then workers will have to vote on it.
The deal shows that the union, with less than one-third of the 1.5 million members it had at its peak in 1979, still has a lot of clout with GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler.
“I think economically the UAW will do just fine in this agreement,” said Art Schwartz, a former GM negotiator who now is a labor consultant in Michigan. “The union certainly still has power in this industry.”