UAW Extends Strike One More Week After Reaching Tentative Deal With General Motors

The new contract would give raises and bonuses to most employees, but nothing is official until both parties sign.

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Leaders of the United Auto Workers union and General Motors have reached a tentative agreement to end a 32-day strike that began back in September. The contract has not yet been ratified and still has to be voted on by union members, which is why the union has agreed to extend the strike one more week and keep 48,000 workers on the picket lines.

According to the Detroit News, the proposed contract will institute a three percent base-wage increase in the second and fourth years of the contract and will pay four percent lump-sum bonuses in the first and third years of employment. The contract also includes bonuses of $11,000 for permanent employees and $4,500 for temp workers with at least 90 days under their belts.

Temporary workers got other benefits out of the deal. The group, which comprises about seven percent of GM’s workforce, will have an opportunity to work their way into full-time employee status after being on the GM roster for three years starting in January 2020. Part-time temp workers will also have a chance to move to regular status after two years. Details on what these "opportunities" look like were not divulged.

All of that is good news for workers, but the picture’s not bright for everyone. The deal confirms that GM will close three of the plants that the company identified last November: The Lordstown Assembly in Ohio, Baltimore Operations in Maryland, and Warren Transmission in Michigan. The automaker will offer buyouts and retirement settlements to many of the people affected by those closures.

The strike began just over a month ago, making it the longest national strike against GM since 1970. Union workers were asking for increased wages, stable investments in healthcare, and a reduction of GM's temp workforce. GM's estimated losses related to the strike have reached $2 billion and the stoppage has impacted hundreds of millions of dollars in employee wages.