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United Auto Workers reach agreement with GM to end strike

The walkout lasted one month

Photo (c) Tramino - Getty Images
The United Auto Workers union has reached a tentative agreement with General Motors to end a one-month-long strike.

The union announced the new development in a very brief announcement.

“We just reached a Tentative Agreement with GM a short time ago, today, Wednesday, October 16, 2019,” the union announced Wednesday afternoon. “We will go over the details when the Council meets tomorrow morning in Detroit.

“On behalf of the entire staff here in Negotiations, we want to thank you for your support," the announcement continued. "In the meantime, continue the picket lines until after the UAW-GM National Council concludes business tomorrow, Thursday, October 17, 2019, and then you will receive further instructions.”

The union went on strike against GM last month after extending its contacts with Ford and FCA. The strike put 46,000 workers off the job at more than 50 GM facilities in the U.S. The union said its members voted to walk out after it became apparent that the two sides were not getting anywhere. The union is seeking to make up some of the ground it lost when it made concessions to all the automakers in the wake of the financial crisis.

“We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most. Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our members, their families and the communities where we work and live,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said last month.

GM cost-cutting

The walkout also comes amid GM belt-tightening that has involved the closing of some U.S. facilities. Last November, GM announced it was phasing out some of its sedans and transitioning to the automotive future, where consumers are purchasing fewer cars and being more discerning about the vehicles they buy.

Some analysts said the strike, the first in a decade, was over the industry’s move toward electric cars, which will require fewer employees. But GM said its contract offer did not reflect any change in employment needs and included more than $7 billion in new investments that it says will produce more than 5,000 jobs.

“We presented a strong offer that improves wages, benefits and grows U.S. jobs in substantive ways, GM said las month. We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency. Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business.”

U.S. auto sales have been in a slow slide since the last contract four years ago, and the companies may feel less generous. Union negotiators, meanwhile, point to the strong sales and profits the carmakers enjoyed over the previous four years.

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