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UAW Ratifies GM Agreement

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Mary Barra GM UAW

Last month, we reported that the United Auto Workers and General Motors reached a new agreement just 16 minutes shy of their deadline. While an agreement had been reached between management teams, it still had to be read and approved by UAW membership. Last week it was announced that UAW membership had ratified the GM contract after October’s agreement was re-negotiated. The fully ratified agreement will be in effect for four years.

The agreement between the UAW and General Motors covers about 52,000 workers around the country. After an agreement was announced last month, the 8,500 skilled trades workers represented by UAW rejected it, which set the approval process back considerably. In the auto manufacturing world, skilled trades workers are generally those who maintain the machines that keep the plant running, such as pipe fitters, electricians, and tool makers.

UAW leaders returned to the GM negotiation table after speaking with the skilled trade workers. Another agreement was drafted with more specific job classifications and secured seniority rights in the system. After the renegotiation, the agreement passed with 55.4% of membership approving. The skilled trades members, though, still voted 59.5% against the agreement.

The approved contract with GM took effect on November 23rd, and one of its biggest pieces ended a “two-tiered” pay system, where workers hired after 2007 had made significantly less than those hired before the recession. Hopefully it will be another four years before anyone in General Motors hears the word “strike”.

News Source: New York Times