GM Lone Holdout as Ford, Stellantis Set To Ratify Historic UAW Contract
After the United Auto Workers secured tentative deals with Ford and Stellantis, the lone holdout remains General Motors (GM), which has been the most resistant to negotiating with the union since strikes began in September.
According to the Associated Press, GM balked at the union’s choice to walk out of its Spring Hill plant, saying that the company thought it was on a path toward a deal because they had been negotiating in good faith.
Spring Hill is the biggest manufacturing plant that GM controls in the United States, employing over 4,000 workers and containing 11 million square feet of space.
The Ford Motor Company and Stellantis deals both run through April 30, 2028, and represent significant gains for the union workforce. Under the deal, workers get a 25% raise in base pay over the next four and a half years, with an 11% raise coming when they ratify the deal, a cost-of-living adjusted raise that actually raises the value by 33%, bringing the total that a top assembly line worker will make to $42 an hour.
UAW President Shawn Fain was excited about the deal, alerting workers to his excitement over keeping a facility at Belvidere, Illinois open.
“We’ve done the impossible,” Fain told workers in a call. “We have moved mountains. We have reopened an assembly plant that was closed. We’re bringing back both combustion vehicles and electric vehicle jobs to Belvidere.” According to UAW Vice President Rich Boyer, the leader of discussions with Stellantis, the deal represents about $19 billion in additional value for its workers.
Union members, like Bruce Baumhower, the president of the local union at a Toledo, Ohio plant, have signaled their desire to ratify the Stellantis deal.
Baumhower told the Associated Press, “Eleven percent is right on the hood. It’s a historic agreement as far as I’m concerned.”
He also reacted to criticism of Fain and the UAW ceding some ground in negotiations. “Anybody who knows anything about negotiations, you always start out much higher than you think is realistic to get.”
As with the Ford deal, which UAW used as a template for the Stellantis negotiations, workers who have pension plans will get a slight bump upon retirement, and those who opened up a 401 (k) post-2007 will see a large boost. Additionally, temporary workers, who had been making some of the lowest salaries at the plant will see a significant increase in their wages.
Workers are eager to return to work, as some of them had to dip into their savings accounts to help them survive while they were furloughed by Ford and Stellantis.
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