Special Report

UAW logo2007 UAW
Labor Talks

Rank-and-file United Auto Workers members at General Motor Corp. ratified a landmark collective bargaining agreement with the auto maker late Wednesday.

The union says 66% of production workers voted in favor of the contract, while 64% of skilled-trade workers agreed to the 4-year deal. The vote comes 17 days after a 2-day strike led to a tentative deal.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger says the union’s solidarity ultimately brought about the agreement.

“We protected jobs, wages and benefits for both active and retired General Motors workers – and we helped protect middle class manufacturing jobs in communities throughout the United States,” he says said in a statement.

GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner says the ratification concludes negotiations on “an innovative agreement that effectively addresses the needs of our employees and retirees, while providing a basis for improved competitiveness that will support future U.S. investments.”

The contract, which expires on Sept. 14, 2011, covers roughly 74,000 hourly GM employees located at more than 80 U.S. facilities, as well as more than 269,000 GM retirees and 69,000 surviving spouses.

The landmark deal includes a new health-care trust for retirees funded by GM that the UAW will manage, plus investment pledges from the auto maker.

Chrysler LLC reached a tentative deal with the UAW Wednesday (Oct. 10), after a strike that lasted less than one production shift. The union now moves on to Ford Motor Co., arguably the most financially distressed company among the Detroit Big Three.