GM, UAW deal ends 2-day strike

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General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative agreement Wednesday, Sept. 26, ending the union’s two-day strike against the auto manufacturer. UAW members were set to report to work for Wednesday’s second shift.

GM says the agreement on a new national labor contract, which covers about 74,000 UAW-represented employees, is subject to ratification by UAW members. The strike came after the union and automaker were unable to come to an agreement on a new contract. In negotiations that began in late July, the company had sought concessions from the union in order to make it more competitive.

Under terms of the agreement, the union is to establish an independent retiree healthcare trust, which would remove that burden from GM; that part of the agreement is subject to approval by the courts and satisfactory review of accounting treatment by the Securities and Exchange Commission, GM said. UAW says additional details of the agreement are being withheld pending ratification by its members.

“There’s no question this was one of the most complex and difficult bargaining sessions in the history of the GM/UAW relationship,” says Rick Wagoner, chairman and chief executive officer of Detroit-based GM. “This agreement helps us close the fundamental competitive gaps that exist in our business. 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.”

UAW Vice President Cal Rapson, director of the union’s GM department, says that UAW “reached this agreement because of the extraordinary solidarity of our membership, and through a tremendous amount of hard work by the committee they elected to negotiate a new contract.”