Just over a week ago, we told you about the heated negotiations between the UAW and the Toyota/GM management team at the NUMMI plant in California, saying that it might provide some insight into the upcoming 2007 general UAW contract discussions. A new contract has just been given the OK by over 80% of the workers, pretty much ending any threat of a work stoppage. So, was the union forced into a 30% healthcare copay and wage freezes? Um, not quite. They're getting a $3,000 signing bonus this year, a 3% bonus next year, and 2-3% raises in the 3rd and 4th year of the contract. In exchange, members will pick up a $5 prescription-drug copay. So, if automakers find that it's not possible to negotiate a (somewhat) favorable contract in a single plant, what's the chance of it happening across the rest of their operations?

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