Agreement between General Motors and the UAW narrowly approved
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - General Motors becomes the first of the big three automakers to approve a tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers Union. This agreement was narrowly approved with 55% of workers voting yes and 45% voting no.
As part of the new contract ratified Thursday, GM workers will receive a 25% wage increase over the next four years. The deal also includes cost of living adjustments and job security for temporary workers and engine workers who could have faced layoffs with the transition to electric vehicles.
The union is calling the deal “historic”. Members of UAW Local 602 narrowly rejected the deal, and local president Mike Huerta says concerns remain about the lack of pensions and retiree healthcare for senior workers.
“There’s people who been there 10-15 years and they’re looking at working in a manufacturing sector where their body breaks down and they won’t receive retiree health care,” said Huerta.
UAW Local 652 voted against the agreement while Local 1753 voted in favor of it. Vice President Jean Duchemine says this is a step forward... But more progress can be made.
“We cannot get the huge victories for everybody all in one contract. So, now that we have a nice foundation. We can build and stack on top of that,” said Duchemine.
The agreement also looks to end lower-wage tiers for new hires and reduce the time it takes to reach top pay grades. It also gives workers the option to strike over plant closures. Supply chain management professor Steven Melnyk with Michigan State University says the agreement sends an important message to all automotive companies.
“What they’re signaling to everyone is that they want to preserve employment opportunities for their members,” said Melnyk.
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