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A two-to-one majority of UAW members voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with General Motors Co. The vote was 65 percent in favor of the agreement among production workers, and 63 percent in favor among skilled trades workers.
The union reached a tentative agreement with GM on Sept. 16. UAW and GM were the first of the domestic automakers to reach a tentative agreement.
"The UAW and GM entered into this set of bargaining as America struggles with record levels of unemployment and an economy that shows little sign of improvement," said UAW President Bob King. Because of President Obama's and the American taxpayers' backing of our jobs and our companies, we were determined to work together with GM management to grow jobs in the U.S. and to get more Americans back to work and we are doing just that.
"With the continued support and solidarity of our members at GM, we stood strong and not only stopped these proposed givebacks, but we made important gains for our members in this contract," King added.
UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who directs the union's GM Department said, "We are enormously proud of our union and the UAW GM National Negotiating Committee. In these uncertain economic times, we were able to win an agreement with GM that guarantees good American jobs at a good American company. When GM was down, our members sacrificed and saved GM. Now that GM is posting strong profits, our members, as a result of this agreement, are going to share in the company's success."
The contract will create 6,400 new jobs in the United States, providing jobs for UAW members who have been laid off over the last several years, creating thousands of new jobs, and bringing work back to the United States and to UAW GM plants that had been moved to Mexico and other parts of the world. The 6,400 GM jobs mean another 57,600 jobs will be created in suppliers and other businesses related to the auto industry, since auto manufacturing jobs create and support so many other jobs.
The contract also provides significant gains for Entry-Level workers, bringing wages to $19.28 over the term of the agreement. It also provides a $5,000 Signing Bonus for all employees, and up to $4,000 in Inflation Protection and Quality lump-sum payments over the term of the agreement. It also improved profit sharing, replacing the old plan with a new, more simple and transparent plan, with higher payouts in profit sharing.
"When it seems like everyone in America is getting cuts in benefits and paying higher co-pays and deductibles, we were able to maintain and improve on our current benefits," said Ashton. "Most significant for our members, we were able to add unlimited $25 doctor's office visits. To the credit of GM and the UAW, this improvement will both increase the long term health of our members and reduce overall plan costs."
"Two years ago, GM and Chrysler were hanging by a thread when President Obama stepped in and invested federal funds to help turn the companies and the U.S. auto industry around, protecting the auto supplier base and keeping good-paying jobs in America," King said. "When GM was struggling, UAW members shared deeply in the sacrifice. The UAW has shown that we are totally committed to helping the U.S. auto companies succeed. GM is prosperous today because of its workers. It's the workers and the quality of the work they do, along with the sacrifices they made, that have helped returned this company to profitability. Now that GM is posting profits again, our members are sharing in the success, while ensuring GM's continued profitability."
The new four-year contract is effective immediately and covers more than 48,000 active workers at GM.