Reports had said that the UAW's strike would not be a lasting one, and they were right. News comes in this morning that the UAW and General Motors have reached a tentative agreement this morning, allowing the 73,000 workers who had walked out to go back to work. Workers could be back on the job as early as the start of the second shift this afternoon.
Difficult issues such as retiree health care costs, tiered wages and job guarantees have been agreed upon in principle. The union will take over managing the health care benefits with GM putting in an as-yet-undetermined amount of money. UAW president Ron Gettelfinger says the fund should be solvent for at least eighty years. On the wage side, new non-manufacturing employees will come in at a lower scale than line workers. Expect Ford and Chrysler to work out deals with similar details in the not-too-distant future, as those companies are still working under terms of the old contract.
UPDATE: GM press release added after the jump.
[Source: CNN, Freep]
GM and UAW Reach Tentative Agreement On New National Labor Contract
Company To Strengthen U.S. Manufacturing Presence With Significant Future Investments
Parties Also Agree To Create Independent Retiree Health Care Trust
DETROIT, Mich. - General Motors and the UAW have reached a tentative agreement on a new national labor contract, covering approximately 74,000 represented employees. The agreement is subject to UAW member ratification.
The tentative agreement includes a memorandum of understanding to establish an independent retiree health care trust, as well as other changes to the national agreement. Following ratification, implementation of the memorandum of understanding is subject to approval by the courts, and satisfactory review of accounting treatment with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"There's no question this was one of the most complex and difficult bargaining sessions in the history of the GM/UAW relationship," said Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and CEO. "I'd like to thank UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, UAW Vice President Cal Rapson and their bargaining team for their leadership and hard work in negotiating the agreement."
The national agreement paves the way for GM to significantly improve its manufacturing competitiveness, providing the basis for maintaining and strengthening its core manufacturing base in the United States.
"This agreement helps us close the fundamental competitive gaps that exist in our business," Wagoner said. "The projected competitive improvements in this agreement will allow us to maintain a strong manufacturing presence in the United States along with significant future investments."
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.