Exactly one month after a 48,000-strong United Auto Workers (UAW) strike at General Motors began, the two sides have reached a tentative four-year labor deal, according to recent reports. The deal is up for approval by the union’s national GM council on Thursday. If the council signs off on the deal, then it could decide whether to end that strike or wait until it’s ratified by all affiliated union members.
“The number one priority of the national negotiation team has been to secure a strong and fair contract that our members deserve,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said in a statement Wednesday. Reuters reports that, while the dealmaking process is ongoing, Dittes wouldn’t release details on the agreement until after the Thursday meeting. For its part, GM confirmed the tentative deal, but declined to comment any further.
Unionized hourly employees sought higher pay, better job security, greater profit sharing and healthcare benefits as part of a new labor deal. Other issues on the table included the fate of plants GM announced would close earlier this year, as well as the company’s use of temporary workers. This strike was the first nationwide walkout at GM since 2007.
The strike’s impact on workers, GM
As the strike reaches the one-month mark, it cost both UAW workers and GM dearly. The Center for Automotive Research estimates the strike cost the UAW’s strike fund $12 million, while it cost GM $450 million. While the strike has been going on, workers were forced to make ends meet through a $250 per week payment from the strike fund.
The union says it will begin negotiations with Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles if workers approve the GM deal. Those negotiations will cover a similar range of issues, and will address temporary contract extensions the UAW made with both automakers while it focused on the GM strike.
While a deal looks more likely, time will tell whether it’s ratified in its current form. Right now, talks are going on under the shadow of a federal investigation into alleged corruption within the UAW union. Despite the ongoing problems, thousands picketed GM for their job security, pay equity and fair treatment by the automaker.
We may update this story as more information is available. More should also be available tomorrow, depending on whether the deal is approved.