• Sep 28, 2007
UPDATE: According to Automotive News, the deal also stipulates GM agrees to new-vehicle programs at 16 U.S. plants.
This morning local UAW leaders that represent plants from around the country unanimously voted to approve the contract offered by General Motors that came at the end of a 40-hour strike by union workers this week. Official details of the contract have been revealed, and we now know that GM's contribution to the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) will be $29.9 billion, plus another $5.4 billion in what The Detroit News calls "pre-VEBA costs". That's significantly less than the upwards of $50 billion we heard was being offered, but UAW president Ron Gettelfinger insists it should last the union some 80 years.

While the contract was unanimously approved this morning by UAW local leaders, it's the 73,000 union rank and file that still need to vote on the contract. That vote is expected to come by October 10th, and despite a $3,000 signing bonus for those who vote to approve the contract, there are some union members who argue that their leadership has betrayed them. A small but vocal group specifically disagrees with the VEBA and the fact that GM is now off the hook for health care costs. There are many who also dislike the new two-tier wage system that starts off thousands of new hires at a much lower $18/hour rate of between $14 and $16.23/hour. Despite protestations, however, we expect the majority of the UAW's GM workers to fall in line and vote this thing through.

Check out official details of the UAW-GM contract after the jump.

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

Official details of the UAW-GM agreement:
  • GM agrees to new-vehicle programs at 16 U.S. plants.
  • GM would initially fund the UAW's health care trust fund with $29.9 billion with an additional $5.4 billion in future years.
  • GM would provide the trust an additional backstop of as much as $1.6 billion over the next 20 years.
  • Workers get a $3,000 signing bonus to approve the contract.
  • Instead of pay raises, UAW rank and file get bonuses equal to 3 percent, 4 percent and 3 percent of their annual pay during the second, third and fourth years of the contract.
  • New hires in noncore, nonproduction jobs would get paid between $14 and $16.23 an hour.
  • New hires get a 401(k) plan instead of the traditional UAW pension plan.
  • GM agreed to bring in-house 3,000 jobs that now are outsourced to contractors.
  • GM agreed to hire 3,000 temporary workers as full-time hourly employees.


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  • 13 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Shouldn't some sort of anti-racketeering law apply to the $3,000 given to those who approve the contract? That's pretty shady, but I'm not in business so I don't know how normal this is.
      • 7 Years Ago
      And they keep you at just less than full-time because of the divisive anti-union fervor they have fostered in angry blue collar workers like you. I have never understood why people seem to manage to undermine their own common good, but listening to these comments makes me sad that the forest seems invisible, but for the trees. Try to remember that a rising tide floats ALL boats. As individuals, you're doomed. Together, maybe, in a generation a reasonable condition can be created. Don't let them divide you over some petty differences. Be happy that a worker can make $75k a year. Surely, it doesn't affect you in any measurable way, and it gives one something to aspire to, yes? Remember, with these so-called "unreasonable" wages, Ford was the world's most profitable company. I haven't seen any figures lately, but I would be very surprised to see a 5% difference in actual labor costs between the domestically produced Toyota and a Ford. Europeans have, as a society, decided that living wages are a goal for all, and yet they still manage to compete globally, even with higher wages than ours. Why? Because ALL labor co-operates on a continental basis. It could work here, too, despite what the business propagandists have inculcated into the ignorant.
      Tim
      • 7 Years Ago
      If you educated folks would have shown up for history class you might have learned that the high wages the auto workers make today is the result of high turn-over in factory type employment in the 1950-1970 era. The employers couldn't afford to continually train new workers because it was a drag on productivity. The employers determined it was more economical to offer higher wages and better benefits to ensure a stable work force than to continually train new employees. Now that there is a larger available work force and an uninformed public and they don't want to pay off on the promises they made to keep that stable work force in a tight labor market. We who stayed at the factory doing bad jobs for good pay are now cast as greedy and ungrateful.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It stirkes me as peculiar, that when the big three were reaping huge profits selling full size pickups and SUVs, our compensation wasn't an issue. Now that gasoline prices are higher, people want more economical vehicles, which sell for a much slimmer margin. Add to that the recent increase in steel prices, transportation costs, unfair foreign trade practices, and the losses begin to snowball.

      This is not the fault of the auto worker. Yet company executives, who regularly pay themselves multi-million dollar bonuses,would have you believe otherwise. Their knee-jerk reaction is to reneg on promises made to retirees years ago, and cut our pay.
      Are we to blame for their poor decision making? If so, then we must also be blamed for the lack of vision of the college educated engineers, charged with the task of designing automobiles that customers actually want to buy.

      Anyone who thinks working on an assembly line is easy never worked on one. It's boring, repetitive work in a hazardous environment which, over time, takes a toll on the body. These people earn their money every day, and their bodies pay the price in arthritic joints, carpal tunnel syndrome, hearing loss, and in some cases, even death.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hey! Upset Union guys!

      Be glad you got anything at all.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "There are many who also dislike the new two-tier wage system that starts off thousands of new hires at a much lower $18/hour."

      OH NOES! What has the world come to? $18/hr starting pay for GED-type low-skill labor????

      dem GM are evil!!!!

      Support our economy! Buy GM!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Whydrive,

        You know those college educated people working at Starbucks either majored in underwater basketweaving or are just too lazy to find a real job. College for them was a 4 year vacation provided by their parents and they will be doing crap jobs their whole lives.

        My college roomate majored in Marketing and could have had a decent job if he wanted, but he wanted something with no responsibility so he quit his first real job and started installing hot tubs or something like that, I haven't talked to him in about 5 years but I was told he has skated job to job and never found anything decent for himself. I in the meantime went to the same school and am an engineer. I hardly blame our school for his lack of motivation.

        The reality of it is that the unions started out with good intentions, years and years ago and have used the sweat and hard work of our parents (and their parents) generations to get themselves living a lifestyle that their social standing doesn't deserve. The unions found out that if they could force the company into making better working conditions, they could force them into paying outrageous benefits and salaries as well. While this worked when there was no real competition and these companies could still turn a profit, times have changed.

        Now it's time for these people to start understanding that the costs associated with their employment makes their companies uncompetative to the degree that they will lose their jobs if they don't cooperate. I think that the union has finally started understanding that and this is the reason a better deal has been struck with GM. I'm interested to find out if they're as willing to work with Ford and Chrysler to find a good compromise that works for them individually.
        • 7 Years Ago
        What's the big deal about $18 per hour. Surely you don't work for less.
        • 7 Years Ago
        If the work is truly GED-type low skill labor, then why do I see a lot of College-educated folks working at Starbucks for much lower pay? Those folks should demand a refund from those institutions for not being taught any real-world skills.
          • 7 Years Ago
          Or...you can grow up and realise that if you're working at starbucks (which only takes the same qualifications as the people with GEDs), you don't deserve to get paid out the butt. You're making cups of coffee. It's not the institutions fault that these people have diplomas and work at Starbucks, it's their own fault. Just like it's not the fault of the average line work that they get vastly overpaid to do a blue collar job, that's the union gangsters fault and GM's for giving in to that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It sounds like a pretty good deal to me. A starting wage of roughly $15 per hour is still pretty acceptable out of the gate, lots of people still don't make anywhere near that at other manufacturing jobs. Plus why should people care who is paying for their health coverage? If GM being off the hook helps the company recover and stay in business to provide jobs, great. If VEBA covers those employees health insurance, great. A job plus insurance is something many people would love to have.
        • 7 Years Ago
        So a guy who bolts on tires gets paid more than me? Even when I have to dodge traffic to fix roads? What a joke.

        Anyways, Scott, I work with a couple guys who worked in factories before they were laid off and were forced to find any type of job that would pay an OK wage. I can tell you that those guys made something like $19-22 an hour. BTW, both of them built engines....but not for the Big 3.

        But I agree with the rest. There are a lot of job openings around here. But the companies keep your hours just under full time so they don't have to provide benefits. It sucks...And these people should be beyond happy that they get to keep their benefits.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's an interesting phenomenon to be in Detroit for the first time in 13 or 14 years, get picked up at the airport by a GM employee just as the strike begins, be found driving to the airport with another GMer 3 hours after the strike ends, and end up with a totally unique perspective. After crossing a 3-man picket line at the Milford Proving Grounds upon entry and a 5-person line at the end of the work day, I was prepped and ready to tell the world about the strike. By morning it was over. http://www.goodcarbadcar.net still has plenty of Milford coverage. 40 hours of strking = 30,000 vehicles not built, correct?
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