Finalizing a deal that had been uncertain just days prior, unionized workers at General Motors voted to ratify a new-four year contract with the United Auto Workers (UAW), following a contentious process. The deal is the latest achievement in ongoing negotiations between the Detroit-based automaker and the labor union after the previous contract expired last month.
The agreement, which will affect nearly 50,000 union workers employed by GM, provides for an estimated $7,500 more in wages and profit-sharing income, a $11,000 signing bonus, union-initiated and member-funded savings program, and $6 billion invested back into GM within four years.
Labor officials noted it wasn’t an easy decision for many union members. After GM’s offer was rejected in early October, the union announced a strike against GM, which lasted for six weeks, and resulted in school districts having to close, and other economic disruptions in the communities where GM operates.
The agreement came as a victory for the UAW, which had repeatedly pushed GM for better wages and benefits. The union was further motivated by the fact that GM’s profits had hit a record high of $10.8 billion in 2018, and contract reforms were needed to stop the continuous outsourcing of jobs.
The move could have deeper consequences, as it sets the stage for other major automakers, namely Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, to potentially agree to similar terms. The deal’s outcome is expected to be a barometer for upcoming labor negotiations.
The contract will now be in effect until 2023, when a new contract will be discussed and negotiated by the same union. With the deal now in place, union workers and the public can expect a continuation of good-faith bargaining between the two sides.