AP

General Motors reaches tentative agreement with UAW, potentially ending 6-week strike

Oct 30, 2023, 8:38 AM

FILE - United Auto Workers signs for a strike are shown at the Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly...

FILE - United Auto Workers signs for a strike are shown at the Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, in Sterling Heights, Mich., Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. Jeep maker Stellantis has reached a tentative contract agreement with the United Auto Workers union that follows a template set earlier this week by Ford, two people with knowledge of the negotiations said Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative contract agreement that could end a six-week-old strike against Detroit automakers, two people briefed on the deal said Monday.

The agreement follows the pattern set with Ford last week and Jeep maker Stellantis over the weekend.

The deals will last four years and eight months and include 25% general pay raises and cost of living adjustments. Combined they bring the wage increase to over 30% over the life of the contract.

The people briefed on the matter, who didn’t want to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the deal, said the agreement was to be announced early Monday.

The contract with GM is similar to those reached by the other two automakers, but there are some differences.

GM was the last company to reach a deal and the union added a lucrative factory in Tennessee to the strike list on Saturday to turn up the pressure. The UAW reached a tentative agreement last week with Ford and it wasted no time in hitting GM where it hurts financially.

Nearly 4,000 unionized workers on Saturday walked out of GM’s largest North American plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, hours after the deal with Stellantis was announced. They joined about 14,000 GM workers already striking at factories in Texas, Michigan and Missouri.

President Joe Biden was asked about the deal Monday, as he boarded Air Force One back to the White House. He gave a thumbs-up and said: “I think it’s great.”

Also Monday, 8,200 Stellantis workers in Canada represented by a different union, Unifor, briefly went on strike before reaching a deal that comes with base hourly wage increases of nearly 20% for production workers. General Motors and Ford workers in Canada have already voted to ratify a three-year contract agreement with the company.

Spring Hill, the plant where workers hit picket lines Saturday, produces the engines for vehicles assembled at nine plants as far afield as Mexico, including Silverado and Sierra pickups. It’s a big money maker for GM that could have potentially amplified the company’s financial pain after workers walked off the job last week in Arlington, Texas, where full-size SUVs including the Tahoe and Suburban are produced. Spring Hill also produces the electric Cadillac Lyriq, GMC Acadia and Cadillac crossover SUVs.

Presidents of the Ford union locals voted unanimously in Detroit on Sunday to endorse that tentative contract after UAW President Shawn Fain explained its details, the union tweeted.

As he explained the particulars to the full membership in a later livestream, Fain, along with Chuck Browning, the UAW vice president, said the deal represents a “historical inflection point” for reviving union power in an America where “we were being left behind by an economy that only works for the billionaire class.”

“UAW members at Ford will receive more in straight general wage increases over the next 4 1/2 years than we have over the last 22 years combined,” Browning said.

Fain called the deal “a turning point in the class war that has been raging in this country for the past 40 years.”

The Ford and Stellantis pacts, which would run until April 30, 2028, include 25% in general wage increases for top assembly plant workers, with 11% coming once the deal is ratified.

The Ford agreement revives cost-of-living adjustments that the UAW agreed to suspend in 2009 during the Great Recession.

At Stellantis, workers get cost-of-living pay that would bring raises to a compounded 33%, with top assembly plant workers making more than $42 per hour. Top-scale workers there now make around $31 per hour.

Starting wages for new Stellantis hires will rise 67% including cost-of-living adjustments to over $30 per hour. Temporary workers will get raises of more than 165%, while workers at parts centers will get an immediate 76% increase if the contract is ratified.

Like the Ford agreement, it will take just three years for new workers to get to the top of the assembly pay scale, the union said. Similarly, the union won the right to strike over plant closures.

Bruce Baumhower, president of the local union at a large Stellantis Jeep factory in Toledo, Ohio, that had been on strike since September, said he expected workers to vote to approve the deal because of pay raises including the immediate 11% raise on ratification. “It’s a historic agreement as far as I’m concerned.”

The UAW began targeted strikes against all three automakers on Sept. 15 after its contracts with the companies expired. At the peak, about 46,000 UAW workers were on strike — about one-third of the union’s 146,000 members at all three companies.
____
Bajak reported from Boston. AP writers John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia, Corey Williams in Sterling Heights, Michigan, Haleluya Hadero in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Michelle Chapman in New Jersey, contributed to this report.

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General Motors reaches tentative agreement with UAW, potentially ending 6-week strike