Finally, after a 44-day strike, the United Auto Workers union reached an agreement with General Motors, after Stellantis and Ford did so. Although the contracts have not yet been approved, the plants will return to production.
Detroit, Michigan, October 30, 2023 (With information from Reuters and the Detroit Free Press.) – In a historic development, the United Auto Workers union announced that an agreement had been reached with General Motors, ending the largest and most impactful auto strike of the 21st century, in addition to being the first to affect Detroit’s Big Three automakers at the same time. Nearly 50,000 workers out of more than 150,000 union members are on strike as of this weekend.
The tentative agreement would effectively end the strike along with record wage and benefit increases for Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors employees in the United States. The details of the GM agreement, the last of the three, were not immediately available, but it follows those reached in recent days by the union of Ford Motor and Stellantis, which represents an important victory for the auto workers after years of unpaid wages. growth and painful concessions made in the face of the 2008 crisis in an effort to save companies from bankruptcy.
According to Reuters, GM workers will return to work following an official announcement of the deal issued by UAW President Shawn Fain on his social media this morning. Fain must now get the rank and file members of the UAW to approve the contracts. That process began Sunday when Fain met with leaders of the Ford-UAW local union, and he is expected to do the same with Stellantis and GM workers.
It also encouraged the recovery of the supply chain that had begun to be severely affected by the strikes in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Last Friday, INA estimated the damage of 780 million dollars to auto parts suppliers located in Mexico due to the strike.
A SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY
Fain’s simultaneous strike strategy clearly worked. It kept most of the UAW members working to raise funds for the strike, and although more than $110 million in funding was used, it was never in danger of running out. As the weeks passed, the strike gradually expanded, intensifying it in the last ten days with surprise strikes at the largest and most profitable plants of each of the OEMs, putting pressure on and putting an ultimatum on the manufacturers, who, although they did not achieve the ideal wage increase demanded by the union, achieved a historic and record increase in the industry.
The UAW has made significant improvements in wages and retirement benefits and has withdrawn concessions on other issues it had agreed to in contracts over the past 15 years. Ironically, in a series of social media posts before GM’s announcement, the UAW said it was committed to the expansion and wanted negotiations to end in 2028 (when the current contract is up for renewal). o) be between the union and the ‘Five.’ Big or Big Six ‘, indicates the addition of new players such as Tesla, Rivian, and other electric vehicle startups.
US President Joe Biden praised the interim agreement. ‘I think it’s good,’ said Biden, who is running pro-union and has endorsed the UAW. The US President is expected to speak at greater length later this afternoon.
Thus, the strike that hit nine assembly plants in total, in addition to more than 30 auto parts distribution centers, will end. The latest is the GM plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, which produces engines for nine of the factories in the United States, seven of which did not strike but were forced to stop due to the lack of these components. This is the final nail in the coffin to force the closure of negotiations with GM.
On the afternoon of Saturday, October 28, UAW workers at the Spring Hill complex walked off the job. At the same time, Shawn Fain and Stellantis negotiated the final terms of the contract with the manufacturer, which will be announced later and is believed to be almost identical to the one reached by Ford.
However, sources in the Detroit Free Press assure that the agreement with GM includes some battery plants that produce units of Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solutions. Workers at the Ultium battery plants are expected to be able to vote and decide whether to unionize and whether to join GM’s master contract or create their own. There is one operating Ultium Cells plant in Ohio and two more under construction in Spring Hill and Lansing, areas affected by the strikes.
The tentative agreement between GM and the UAW will match the agreement reached with Ford, sources told the Detroit Free Press. It includes a 25% salary increase for the life of the 4-and-a-half-year contract, which ends on April 30, 2028. The cost of living adjustment formula from 2009 is also restored; the same formula was used to gain the profit achieved by Ford during a three-year period of development of the highest salary and the removal of levels.
Like other GM facilities, employees at the Ultium Cells plant in Warren, Ohio, near GM’s former Lordstown assembly plant, will automatically get an 11% raise in the first year of the contract, capping his salary at $35 every hour.
At the end of the contract, GM workers will earn about $42 an hour. The agreement will also allow GM employees at some plants the opportunity to move to battery plants or electric vehicles if there is an opportunity to get jobs as GM moves to an all-electric future, the man said.
A vote by the UAW’s national GM council is expected later this week, and if it approves the deal, it will go to local leaders to discuss with the general membership, who will then vote to approve or reject the deal.
UAW President Shawn outlined key points of the Ford contract Sunday night and said he and union negotiators ‘wholeheartedly’ support it for ratification. Local Ford union leaders will review the terms of the contract with members in the coming days, and then Ford members will vote on it. Ford said the ratification includes a $5,000 bonus for all employees who vote, in addition to $8.1 billion in new investments from the manufacturer to keep jobs in the United States.