Strike over! UAW workers ratify contract with GM. Here’s what’s next

The UAW said Friday that its membership ratified a new four-year contract with General Motors bringing a six-week strike to a close.

The UAW made the declaration after the voting ended at 4 p.m. Friday.

“General Motors members have spoken,” said Terry Dittes, UAW Vice President and Director of the UAW-GM Department. “We are all so incredibly proud of UAW-GM members who captured the hearts and minds of a nation. Their sacrifice and courageous stand addressed the two-tier wages structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working class Americans.”

In announcing the ratification and end to the strike, UAW said 23,389 members voted yes and 17,501 voted no on the proposed contract.

The UAW said that workers will begin to report to work as instructed by GM. The union also announced Friday the next pattern bargaining company will be Ford.

GM confirmed the contract ratification saying it delivered a contract that recognizes employees for the important contributions they make to the company’s success with a strong wage and benefit package and additional investment and job growth in U.S. operations.

UAW strike

The nearly 46,000 union members will receive $11,000 ratification bonuses from GM. Temporary workers are to get $4,500.

GM will notify union workers through the normal channels on when they should return to work, which is certain to be as quickly as possible. The strike cost the company $450 million a week, the Center for Automotive Research estimated, interrupted production of key vehicles and will delay delivery of the 2020 midengine Corvette Stingray.

The strike’s impact goes beyond the automaker.

Lear Corp. said Friday that the six-week strike represents $525 million in lost revenue for the seating and electronic systems supplier.

Lear, based in Southfield, also lowered its full-year financial outlook, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. Its third-quarter net income fell 15% to $216 million. GM is Lear’s largest customer, accounting for 18 percent of Lear’s business last year.

Temporary workers

The union said the new contract will automatically make more than 900 temporary workers regular employees in January. After that, temps would get permanent jobs as they accrue time on the job under terms of the new contract. Their benefits improve, and the union has a voice in how many temporary workers the company can add.

Likewise, all “in-progression” workers would get a raise within 52 weeks of their last raise. Under the old contract, those hired after 2007, dubbed in-progression workers, start at $17 an hour and can move up to $28 an hour after eight years. This new deal provides for them to reach $32.32 an hour by the time the new contract expires in 2023.

At Local 163, which represents GM Romulus Powertrain, 1,064 members out of about 1,100 voted, said Ralph Morris, president of the local. He said many workers live as far away as Flint and Toledo, but they drove in to vote.

But during the informational meetings, there were many “impassioned” questions around the contract, he said.

“Some liked that there were no increases to their health care, they liked that the cap was raised for wages to help in-progression employees move up,” said Morris, “But, it was a mixed bag. Was it a slam dunk? No, but a lot of them felt it was an improvement from the current plan and there was a pathway for temporary employees.”

GM will be calling some Local 163 skilled trades workers asking them to work Saturday and Sunday, said Morris. They will be paid time-and-a-half for that work. Monday would be the full production day, he said.

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