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  • Striking United Auto Workers (UAW) members rally in front of General Motors World headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., October 17, 2019.

    Striking United Auto Workers (UAW) members rally in front of General Motors World headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., October 17, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 October 2019
Opinion

The Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached, with 57 percent of approval, between union and company negotiators on Oct. 16.

After 40 days of strike, members of the United Auto Workers union voted in favor of a four-year labor deal to end the walkout, wrapping up the longest auto workers’ strike in 50 years which had cost United States company General Motors about US$2 billion.

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US: General Motors, Workers Restart Talks After Month of Strike

“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 wage structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working-class Americans,” UAW Vice President and Director of the UAW-GM Department Terry Dittes said in a statement.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached, with 57 percent of approval, between union and company negotiators on Oct. 16, but strikers remained on the picket lines until it was ratified.

Workers obtained a three percent pay raise and four percent lump-sum increase in alternating years. Temporary workers will become permanent employees after three years on the job and for newer hires to earn the full pay rate in four years instead of eight. 

While the top wage rate was increased from about US$30 to US$32 per hour. Permanent workers will also get a US$11,000 signing bonus and temporary workers will get US$4,500. Health care costs remain the same.

Regarding possible job losses, the Detroit-Hamtramck factory, which was one of four slated for closure before the strike began, will now stay open. GM will build electric trucks and vans there, a US$3 billion investment in 2,225 jobs. The company will also invest US$1 billion in two other factories — one in Tennessee and another in Michigan — to build mid-size SUVs.

But the union failed in its efforts to save the three other plants, an assembly line in Lordstown, Ohio, and transmission plants in Warren, Michigan, and Baltimore, where GM halted operations earlier this year.

The strike, the longest in decades, began on Sept.16 after two months in which the UAW and the company negotiated unsuccessfully the signing of a new collective agreement. Employees claimed that after years of sacrifice to refloat the company after the great crisis of 2008 and a decade of multi-million dollar benefits for General Motors.

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