UAW president Dennis Williams Bill Pugliano, Getty Images

UAW president Dennis Williams.

GM, UAW Reach Tentative Labor Agreement

With 17 minutes to spare, the United Auto Workers reaches an agreement with General Motors similar to its recent deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 'We believe this agreement will present significant wage gains and job security commitments now and in the future'

DETROIT — General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year labor deal Sunday, only minutes before a midnight strike deadline.

“We believe this agreement will present stable long-term significant wage gains and job security commitments to UAW members now and in the future,” UAW president Dennis Williams said. “We look forward to presenting the details to local union leaders and the membership.”

GM has 50,000 employees who are UAW members.

The union bargaining committee announced the settlement just 17 minutes before a midnight strike deadline that had been imposed the day before. The agreement secured significant economic gains and job security protections, the union said in a statement.

The union also said that the bargaining committee unanimously voted to send the proposed tentative agreement to local union leaders who make up the UAW National GM Council. The agreement’s details are being withheld pending the GM Council’s meeting, but are expected to parallel those of the union’s agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which included a 53% pay increase for lower-wage “second-tier” workers.

Under the deal, second-tier workers will also reach higher paying “first-tier” wages after eight years. The FCA contract also called for first-tier workers to get a 3% pay increase, the first in nine years, according to the UAW.

The union plans to make the details of the agreement available immediately after the UAW National GM Council votes Wednesday.

The union had been looking to claw back some concessions made in order to help GM survive the economic crisis. The company has regained is footing and now is posting healthy profits.

UAW vice president Cindy Estrada called the agreement transformative. 

“The significant gains in this agreement are structured in a way that will provide certainty to our members and create a clear path for all GM employees now and in the future,” she said. “The agreement not only rewards UAW-GM members for their accomplishments, but it protects them with significant job security commitments.”

GM said the tentative agreement was a positive development for both the company and the union.

“The new UAW-GM national agreement is good for employees and the business,” said Cathy Clegg, GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations vice president. “Working with our UAW partners, we developed constructive solutions that benefit employees and provide flexibility for the company to respond to the needs of the marketplace.”

by Joe Szczesny

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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