February 28, 2024

G.M. Said to Offer Bonuses in New Deal With Workers

In what is being viewed as a landmark deal, the union also preserved health care and pensions and improved profit-sharing for its roughly 48,000 members who work at G.M.

The U.A.W.’s tentative, four-year agreement with G.M., announced late Friday, also opens the door for the automaker to bring back laid-off workers and move jobs back into the United States.

G.M. is the first of Detroit’s Big Three to reach a deal with the union. Details of the agreement were being withheld until the union can inform members, who will vote on ratification over the next two weeks.

The union’s president, Bob King, said in a statement that union members would get a larger share of the profits from G.M.’s comeback from its federal bailout and bankruptcy in 2009.

“When G.M. was struggling, our members shared in the sacrifice,” Mr. King said. “Now that the company is posting profits again, our members want to share in the success.”

G.M.’s lead negotiator, Cathy Clegg, said the agreement allows G.M. to continue adding jobs as it increases market share in the United States.

“We worked hard on a contract that recognizes the realities of today’s marketplace, enabling G.M. to continue to invest in U.S. manufacturing,” she said.

Industry analysts said the union achieved its goals of balancing economic gains in the agreement with solidifying G.M.’s cost structure for future growth.

“I think the U.A.W. went way beyond holding the line here,” said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “The union made some real gains in the contract in the context of where G.M. becomes a more competitive company.”

Officials at G.M. and the union declined to discuss specific terms of the deal. But people familiar with the negotiations said that workers would receive a signing bonus of $5,000 in lieu of cost-of-living wage increases. Entry-level workers, who are paid about $14 an hour, are expected to receive an increase.

The company has also agreed to reopen its idled assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., the people said.

“They are bringing back work from other countries,” Mr. Shaiken said. “In this environment, to be creating jobs is not an insignificant achievement.”

Increasing jobs in the United States was a critical goal for U.A.W. leaders under pressure to show that the government’s bailout of G.M. is producing positive economic benefits.

Mr. King took the unusual step of acknowledging the Obama administration’s support of the industry in his statement: “None of this would have been possible without the efforts of President Obama, who invested federal funds to help turn the company around, protect the auto supplier base and keep good-paying jobs in America.”

The union said that it had successfully fought off G.M.’s proposals to weaken pensions and obtain major concessions on health-care benefits.

Mr. King’s next task is to seek broad support among local union leaders and G.M. workers for the tentative deal. U.A.W. leaders from plants across the country are expected to gather in Detroit on Tuesday to hear the details.

“No one’s going to like the entire contract,” said Jim Graham, president of U.A.W. Local 1112 in Lordstown, Ohio. “I’m not going to like all of it. But if I like 90 percent of it, I’m behind it.”

He added: “I have no doubts it will get ratified.”

Then Mr. King will most likely move to Chrysler, which is smaller and less profitable than G.M., and may not be willing to match the $5,000 bonuses.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=2b058e8c495f9935baa1e8ed16857a98

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