Since September 16, unionized General Motors workers have been on a nationwide strike. As the vote concluded Friday at 4 PM Eastern time, results compiled by Automotive News concluded that a majority of those workers supported a new four-year contract, officially ending a strike that idled plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
From AutoNews’ reporting:
“Unofficial results compiled by Automotive News show that 56 percent of production workers and 66 percent of skilled-trades employees voted in favor of the deal. With 93 percent of votes accounted for the deal is mathematically assured of passage.”
A simple majority is all that’s needed to ratify the deal struck between United Auto Workers (UAW) negotiators and GM. As part of that deal, GM committed to investing $9 billion in U.S. plants. That investment will either create or retain 9,000 jobs. As part of a joint venture, the company also reportedly committed $1.3 billion to start battery-cell production near the closed Lordstown, Ohio plant.
While the automaker is proceeding to close three plants as scheduled, one that received a stay of execution is Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, which currently builds the Cadillac CT6. Instead of closing the plant, GM will invest $3 billion to build electric trucks and vans there instead.
The ratified deal includes a faster path for temporary employees to become full-time workers. At the end of a four-year period, those employees will be paid at a rate of $32.32 per hour. Permanent workers will receive an $11,000 ratification bonus, while temporary employees get $4,500. They will also get the first of two 4 percent lump-sump bonuses next month. However, it’s worth noting employees also took a massive hit to their bottom line by going on strike — a financial wound barely covered by the ratification bonuses.
FCA, Ford negotiations up next, and UAW corruption probe nets guilty pleas
While the overall deal appears to be ratified, the vote exposed a divide among the workers. Many who voted against the deal were upset that the automaker is still allowed to close plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland following the deal. The deal also did not include promises to return any production that currently takes place in Mexico. A GM plant at Ramos Arizpe, Mexico that builds the Chevrolet Blazer was idled as a result of the strike, but will return to its normal production capacity.
Now that the UAW has struck a deal with GM, it’s time to face the other two Detroit automakers. Negotiators reported some progress with Ford and FCA, though it had been preoccupied with the GM deal. The union also aims to use this deal as a framework for the other two, particularly in hopes it can avert another strike from one of the other Big Three automakers.
The UAW must also contend with its own internal issues, as a corruption probe continues. Most recently, Jeffery Pietrzyk, a former co-director of GM’s training center, as well as other UAW officials have plead guilty to corruption charges over the course of the ongoing federal investigation. UAW regional director Vance Pearson, who heads a 17-state union region stretching across the country, was also charged earlier this month.