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

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Posted at 11:43 AM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-16 14:51:55-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The United Auto Workers and General Motors have reached a tentative agreement for a new four-year contract. It happened on day 31 of the strike.

The union and GM have been working for months on a new contract, and officially went on strike on Sept. 14 when the previous contract expired.

“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. Out of respect for our members, we will refrain from commenting on the details until the UAW GM leaders gather together and receive all details.

READ | Hoosier UAW-GM workers travel to Detroit | Thousands of Hoosiers join nationwide GM strike

“We are extremely grateful to the thousands of Americans who donated goods and helped our striking workers and their families. 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,” said Dittes.

GM took an unprecedented move by publicly releasing some terms that were offered right before the strike started. The company said it was a $7 billion offer that included job security, new allocation of work for plants set to close, a combination of wage increases and lump sum payments plus a ratification bonus.

The union went into these talks with a posture that GM has made record profits since the last 2015 contract and concessions that helped save the company during bankruptcy a decade ago that needed to be addressed.

That includes a path for temporary workers to traditional status as well as in-progression workers, both groups hired after bankruptcy to save the company money on labor costs. The company says 7 percent of the current UAW workforce are temporary workers and 35 percent of the workforce are in-progression workers. They start at lower wage rates, and many of those workers are paid half the wage rate as traditional workers doing the same job.

The agreement still has to be ratified on by rank-and-file union members before it officially goes into place. It normally only takes a few days to organize local informational meetings and hold votes.

The tentative agreement is voted on by the UAW-GM bargaining committee and then UAW-GM council that includes local union presidents and shop chairs. That vote could also include a decision on whether to continue the strike until a rank-and-file ratification.