The GM strike lasted less than 40 hours, not even two full days. For UAW president Ron Gettelfinger, however, it was just enough time to secure for his members the concessions he wanted. So which side blinked after 40 hours of staring the other down? It's tough to tell, but the UAW's main sticking point was job security, and it was looking for a guarantee that production for new models wouldn't be moved outside the United States. This is the issue that initiated the strike, and it appears that GM did change its mind and offer the UAW some type of broad job guarantee for the duration of this 4-year contract. Here's how the whole deal breaks down as we see it.
UAW got:
  • An independent retiree health care trust that will be funded with enough money from GM to remain solvent for 80 years
  • Undisclosed job guarantees that we expect includes a promise of investment in particular U.S. plants in preparation for production of new models
  • GM will hire up to 5,000 temporary workers as full-time employees
  • Signing bonuses of an undisclosed amount for all UAW members who sign the contract
  • Wage increases of 3% in first year, 4% in second and 3% in third

GM got:
  • $50 billion in health care liability off its back after a large one-time payout into independent retiree health care trust
  • Two-tier wage structure, as those 5,000 new hires who were previously temp will be brought in at their current wage of $18/hour, rather than the $28/hour current full-timers earn
  • Undisclosed revisions in the Jobs Bank program that continues to pay laid-off employees
  • Reduction in labor cost to produce vehicles, though might not be realized right away
Next up for the UAW is either Ford Motor Company or Chrysler LLC. It has yet to decide which of the remaining domestics it will negotiate with next, but we're anxious to see if one contract already in place will make the next two go smoother.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]

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