GM union workers ratify UAW deal following contentious vote

United Auto Workers members voted 55 percent in favor of a new contract with General Motors, ending a month-long strike that saw workers storming the automaker’s headquarters in Detroit and swathes of its manufacturing plants.

The deal was made after the UAW hailed a proposed agreement that would provide raises, a signing bonus and improved Members of the United Auto Workers Union on strike outside General Motors’ Toledo transmission plant on October 3, 2019 in Toledo, Ohio. benefits to around 46,000 members affected by the walkout.

The ratification vote was not exactly a clear verdict, as deliberations “showed a lot of division among workers,” UAW President Gary Jones said in a statement.

Despite initial trepidation among UAW members, the union’s leadership argued that this was the best path forward.

“Our hard work has paid off, and I am proud to report that the contract negotiations are now complete,” Jones said in a statement. “We have achieved a contract that sets a new standard for U.S. workers.”

The agreement contains a $2,000 signing bonus, a 3 percent base wage increase, a 3 percent lump sum bonus, as well as improved overtime and healthcare policies. In addition, the proposed contract makes measures to protect current employees from job losses due to automation and restructuring.

Despite successes in the agreement, union members did make some compromises. To start, the ratification will result in production workers taking a pay cut, due to the elimination of a cost-of-living increase. Additionally, the union agreed to a window of five years for GM to bring new staff onboard at a rate of $17 an hour, well below the current rate of $30 an hour.

The deal now allows GM to return to pre-strike levels of production, as the company estimates it lost over $3 billion as part of the strike.

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