What we're learning about the tentative agreement — GM strike

Ruben Fields
October 18, 2019

The UAW has reached a tentative agreement with GM to end the worker strike that lasted for more than 30 days.

The strikers around the Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Lansing said that the devil is in the details. They will have a shortened path to reach top tier wages. But during the press conference, Brian Rothenberg, of the UAW gave an answer.

"We see the agreement to close three out of the four plants initially targeted as a "win" for GM, keeping their restructuring plan on track", said Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois in an investor note Thursday.

He said many workers from Lordstown who moved to other states to take GM jobs left their families behind, but did so with the expectation that they would be able to move back to Lordstown to be with their families again. The Lordstown workers, some wearing red shirts with the slogan "Stop Building in Mexico", said they were not satisfied with what they saw. High absenteeism and rich health benefits add to the cost burdens at a time when USA vehicle sales are projected to decline and automakers are funding investments in electric vehicles. Already, some Lordstown workers are vowing to vote this tentative agreement down and refuse to ratify anything as long as the plant is slated for closure.

Strikers will stay on the picket line until the agreement is ratified.

About 49,000 US workers have been on strike for more than a month, which has cost the company an estimated $2 billion. In return, the contract allows GM to proceed with factory closures in Lordstown, Ohio; Warren, Michigan; and near Baltimore.

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The tentative contract also set up a $11,000 ratification bonus for employees with seniority and a $4,500 ratification bonus for temporary employees.

Temporary workers with three years of service will become full-time workers on January 6, 2020. and the union won greater say over the employment of temporary workers in various plants, according to the summary. Part-time temporary employees will have a pathway to regular status beginning January 1, 2021. GM also agreed to make temporary workers with three years of service permanent.

Eligible GMCH and CCA employees also receive 3% increases.

Retirement bonuses will be available to 2,000 production veterans and 60 skilled trade as a $60,000 bonus to be had for those who retire by February 2020.

Also, negotiators succeeded in removing the $12,000 cap on profit sharing payouts, so now all profits the company earns in North America will generate payments to members, based on the current $1,000 per $1 billion formula, with no limits. Inflation-adjusted wages for all USA auto workers have fallen 16% since 2010, and UAW workers at the Detroit Three have received only two base wage increases of 3% in the past nine years, according to vehicle.

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