UAW Members Ratify Tentative New Deal With General Motors, Ending 40-Day Strike

It was the longest walkout at GM since 1973, costing the company billions and delaying the production of two key vehicles.

byChris Chin| UPDATED Oct 28, 2019 10:12 AM
UAW Members Ratify Tentative New Deal With General Motors, Ending 40-Day Strike

It appears the 40-day General Motors strike has come to an end. The United Auto Workers and GM yesterday ratified a new four-year labor contract that includes wage increases and the end of a controversial two-tier wage structure negotiated during the financial crisis. The UAW strike had kept three GM plants idle, costing the company several billion dollars, according to estimates, and causing delays in production of the new Chevrolet Blazer and C8 Corvette.

The new contract, reportedly voted in with 66 percent of skilled-trades workers and 56 percent of production employees in its favor, benefits the UAW in the form of bonuses and wage increases for workers, while laying out future product plans for the General.

The agreement calls for the closing of a major training facility operated by the UAW and GM, supposedly stemming from allegations of corruption revealed during a federal investigation, involving officials at the union and the automaker. The pact is expected to raise the top wage rate for full-time employees to $32.32 an hour by the end of the contract. Full-time workers will be eligible for an $11,000 ratification bonus, while part-time workers will get $4,500, with partial payment commencing over the next month.

The automaker agreed to invest around $7.7 billion into its U.S.-based assembly and manufacturing plants to help create or maintain about 9,000 jobs. With this trajectory, some believe the total investment could exceed $9 billion as the plan could tentatively carry on through 2023.

Part of the deal includes GM’s plan to invest more in electric vehicle production, with around $1.3 billion going toward the currently inactive Lordstown, Ohio plant. This will include a joint venture with another company to begin battery-cell production for new models. GM’s EV initiative collectively involves $3 billion of the total investment, building a new lineup of battery-powered trucks and vans, some of which may be included in the possible revival of Hummer as a premium electric truck and SUV brand

The Detroit-Hamtramck plant is also said to be in line for a revival as part of the automaker’s EV strategy.

With its GM squared away, the UAW will shift its focus to contract negotiations with Ford Motor Company and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles.