UAW, GM reach tentative agreement on new contract after weeks of striking

Daniel Fowler
October 17, 2019

A tentative deal between General Motors and the United Auto Workers doesn't include a full agreement on bringing manufacturing back to Lordstown, Ohio, a city that's been a focus of both the union and President Trump, The Post has learned.

GM Union worker Matthew Sleeman said he was ready to get back to work and hopes the deal passes the majority vote. That had been taken as a sign that the two sides were getting close to a deal.

If the deal is approved by the workers, the union will next begin negotiations with Ford Motor Co or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA), covering numerous same issues regarding healthcare costs, job security and the use of temporary workers.

Still, Zuniga said he's appreciated the help from locals and union members from other industries, including postal workers, electricians and transit workers, who joined UAW members as they stand outside in six-hour shifts each day.

There are parts of the deal Local 4 has not seen, but had previously been settled and might have changed in the final minutes. The UAW's statement didn't provide details on the deal reached with the company. Workers are likely to stay on the picket lines at least a few more days until union committees vote on the deal.

If ratified, the agreement will end a four-week strike by GM's American-based unionized workers. Workers have been relying on strike pay of about $250 a week from the UAW.

The U.S. strike idled output of Chevrolet Impalas and pickup trucks in Oshawa and engine production in St. Catharines.

"We can confirm the UAW's statement regarding a proposed tentative agreement". Over the last 14 years alone, the UAW has enabled GM to reduce its hourly labor costs by a staggering two-thirds, from $16 billion in 2005 to $5 billion today.

"I'm proud that we stuck our ground and everybody stuck together", Himes said of the union workers during a phone interview.

The deal is likely to include some pay raises, lump sum payments to workers, and requirements that GM build new vehicles in US factories, the Associated Press reports.

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In past years, it's taken a minimum of three or four days and as long as several weeks for the national ratification vote. This is a meaningless provision since there would be nothing to stop the company from repeatedly laying off temporary workers before they reach the three-year threshold. The company says 7 percent of the current UAW workforce are temporary workers and 35 percent of the workforce are in-progression workers.

United Auto Workers members won't immediately return to work at General Motors facilities despite the tentative agreement announced Wednesday. Until the Council reviews and votes to approve the proposed tentative agreement the strike will continue. If they vote the first proposal down-as did Fiat Chrysler workers in 2015-company and union negotiators will have to return to the bargaining table to hash out a deal they believe the members will support.

Among rank-and-file workers there is enormous opposition to another sellout.

General Motors confirmed a proposed agreement was reached but offered no details.

Further discrediting the UAW is the exposure that its top officers took millions in bribes and kickbacks, pilfering union dues and company money funneled through the joint training centers such as the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources.

In August, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the suburban Detroit home of the UAW president Gary Jones. High absenteeism and rich health benefits add to the cost burdens at a time when US vehicle sales are projected to decline and automakers are funding investments in electric vehicles.

It's important to note the strike is not over just yet.

Over 46,000 hourly GM employees have been off the job for 31 days, making this the longest GM strike in almost 50 years.

It is the longest in decades and its impact has been felt throughout the MI economy.

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