Was the strike worth it for both sides?

A worker gives the thumbs-up gesture to a passing motorist as he demonstratives outside a...
A worker gives the thumbs-up gesture to a passing motorist as he demonstratives outside a General Motors facility in Langhorne, Pa., Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday as contract talks with the company deteriorated into a strike. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (WILX)
Published: Oct. 18, 2019 at 6:28 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Even if the UAW ratifies the tentative agreement with General Motors, both sides have taken heavy losses during the strike.

GM is out an estimated $1.5 billion in profits and union workers lost an estimated $800 million in salary.

News 10's Carla Bayron talked with a labor relations professor at Michigan State University about what he thinks of the deal.

Professor Peter Berg has been teaching employment relations at Michigan State University for more than 20 years. He read the tentative agreement between the UAW and GM and says he'd be surprised if union members voted "no."

"There's no change in healthcare for one, a thing that the workers would find attractive," Berg said. "There's a nice ratification bonus of $11,000 in there. There's a window now or a pathway for temp workers to get to permanent status a little quicker than before, which is an important thing for the union."

The union also got GM to commit to reopening the Detroit-Hamtrack plant, which was slated to close.

GM gets more labor cost certainty and gets it factories back to work.

"The commitment to ongoing expenses is somewhat less than paying pay increases in percentage terms every year. They didn't commit to open all of their production facilities. Those will remain closed so that's a positive for GM," Berg said.

Healthcare was also kept neutral so no change in cost for GM. But did either side get enough in this deal where the financial losses of the strike were worth it?

Berg said it's difficult to give an opinion on that.

"After a while, the company came to a point where they said, "okay let's negotiate and end to this strike" and they came up with something they could live with. To say was it worth it? You have to deal with the reality with what your facing and reach a reality you think will help you go forward," Berg said.

Berg said both parties have to decide on something they can live with and the key is that they believe it's something that can be voted through.

Not only did the strike hurt General Motors, its workers and the employees of suppliers and auto shops, it hurt stockholders too.

GM shares are down 7% since the last trading day before the strike began.

Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved.