WASHINGTON – The United Auto Workers (UAW) announced on Wednesday that it reached a tentative agreement with General Motors to end a month-old nationwide strike that has cost the company roughly $2 billion.
“The No. 1 priority of the national negotiation team has been to secure a strong and fair contract that our members deserve,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes, who leads the union’s GM Department, said in a statement.
Dittes declined to disclose the details of the proposed deal until all the UAW GM leaders could be briefed on the document.
The announcement came a month to the day after more than 48,000 UAW members walked off the job at 33 GM plants and 22 distribution centers across the United States.
UAW members voted in mid-September to authorize union leadership to call their first strike since 2007 after the existing collective bargaining agreement expired before the sides could hammer out a new contract.
The union demanded higher wages and better health benefits in line with the more than $8 billion in profits GM reaped in 2018.
The UAW also wanted GM to limit the use of temporary workers and to abandon plans calling for the shutdown next year of plants in Lordstown, Ohio, Hamtramck and Warren, Michigan, and Baltimore.
In a proposal submitted just before the strike began, GM pledged to invest $7 billion in its US operations over the next four years, resulting in the maintenance or creation of more than 5,400 jobs.
The next step is set for Thursday, when the UAW GM National Council is to review the tentative deal and then vote on whether to recommend ratification by the full membership.
“Until the Council reviews and votes to approve the proposed tentative agreement the strike will continue. During the Oct. 17 meeting, the Council will decide whether to continue the strike until ratification concludes or to stop the strike at the time of the Council’s approval of the agreement,” the UAW said.
While union members typically ratify the accords negotiated by the UAW leadership, in 2015, Fiat Chrysler workers rejected the deal proposed by union officials.
The strike at GM facilities in the US had a knock-on effect at the company plants in Mexico and Canada, where thousands of workers were idled by a lack of parts.