A national council for United Auto Workers voted Thursday to accept a “Tentative Agreement” that could end the union’s 33-day strike against General Motors, but includes the closure of three American facilities.
Local UAW chapters will begin the process of voting on the new contract Saturday and the ratification process will conclude Friday, October 25, according to a statement from UAW. Workers are expected to remain off the job until the ratification process is complete and will likely continue their picketing efforts.
“We thank the public for their support during the strike and their continued support as UAW GM members review the tentative agreement,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement. “Ultimately, UAW members will make the decision to ratify the agreement. Their unity and solidarity brought us to this moment.”
Under the tentative agreement, three of General Motors’ American facilities will close, including the Baltimore Transmission plant, the Lordstown, Ohio plant, and the Warren Transmission plant in Michigan. The Detroit Hamtramck operation, however, will remain open with a new product.
The tentative agreement also includes an $11,000 ratification bonus for senior employees, and a $4,500 ratification bonus for temporary employees. The agreement creates a shortened path to permanent status for full-time temporary workers, and provides a path for part-time temporary employees to convert to regular status.
The tentative agreement eliminates the current $12,000 cap on profit-sharing payouts, meaning all profits the company earns in North America will generate payments to UAW members following a “$1,000 per $1 billion formula.”
“From the outset your brothers and sisters, local leaders and bargaining team members identified key areas of concern to focus on throughout this process: a clear pathway for temporary workers to full-time status; shortening the in-progression period; maintaining our current health plan and costs; improving our share of profits; as well as protecting job security and future work,” states a letter to UAW members. “We are please to announce that thanks to your solidarity and sacrifice, we have achieved gains toward all of these bargaining priorities.”
The agreement also allows for all workers to receive top pay of more than $32 an hour within four years. Some workers may be lured into retirement under a $60,000 retirement bonus for up to “2,000 eligible production and 60 eligible skilled employees who retire between December 31 and February 28, 2020.”
As The Michigan Star reported, the strike has had a particularly strong impact on Michigan’s economy, with reports estimating a loss of $9.1 million in Michigan income tax revenue.
“We encourage the UAW to move as quickly as possible through the ratification process, so we can resume operations and get back to producing vehicles for our customers,” General Motors said in a press release. “Our goal during these negotiations was to ensure the future of General Motors is one that works for our employees, dealers, suppliers, and the communities where we operate. The agreement reflects our commitment to U.S. manufacturing through the creation of new jobs and increased investment.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “UAW Workers on Strike” by UAW 2250.