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GM Strikes A Deal With The UAW As Ford and Fiat Chrysler Are Next


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After 40 days, the longest auto workers' strike since 1970 came to an end Friday as the United Auto Workers and General Motors reached an agreement. Both sides are ready to move on as the strike cost GM nearly $2 billion in lost production and employees nearly $1 billion in lost wages.


The agreed upon deal, which won 57% of the UAW member vote, gives members 3% wage increases, prevents health care plan prices from increasing, removes the cap on profit-sharing with employees and provides a process for temporary employees to become permanent employees. The deal also includes a signing bonus, but in some instances doesn't cover the lost wages from the six-week strike.


However, the UAW was unable to get GM to agree to one their core issues. The UAW wanted GM to move jobs from Mexico to a plant in Ohio that closed. 1,400 workers were laid off from the plant with only a couple hundred moving to other plants. As part of the deal, GM agreed to open an electric car battery factory near the plant, but doing so will involve only a couple hundred jobs at lower wages.


Also as part of the deal, the two sides agreed to form The National Committee on Advanced Technology, which will meet quarterly "to manage the impact of new technologies that threaten a century-old manufacturing process currently employing tens of thousands." The goal of the committee, which will be composed of three representatives from each side, will be to provide training for employees to avoid work displacement as a result of new technologies and processes.


A letter to UAW members at GM read "From the outset your brothers and sisters, local leaders and bargaining team members identified key areas of concern to focus on throughout this process: a clear pathway for temporary workers to full-time status; shortening the in-progression period; maintaining our current health plan and costs; improving our share of profits; as well as protecting job security and future work. We are pleased to announce that thanks to your solidarity and sacrifice, we have achieved gains toward all of these bargaining priorities."


"We delivered a contract that recognizes our employees for the important contributions they make to the overall success of the company, with a strong wage and benefit package and additional investment and job growth in our U.S. operations," said Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO. "GM is proud to provide good-paying jobs to tens of thousands of employees in America and to grow our substantial investment in the U.S."


After striking a deal with GM, the UAW now has its sights set on Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Ford, which has the best relationship with the UAW, is the largest employer of UAW-represented autoworkers. Sources say the UAW is not afraid to call member strikes at Ford and Fiat Chrysler if they push back against the gains they made with GM.


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