GM strike, day 36: Two locals approve UAW-GM agreement

Kalea Hall Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Early results from two United Auto Workers locals show the new contract with General Motors Co. is receiving strong support from members. 

UAW Local 160 representing GM employees at the Warren Technical Center overwhelmingly voted in favor of the new contract with 84% voting yes, according to the local's Facebook page. Skilled trades members passed the contract with 85% voting yes and non-trades members approved it with 81% voting yes. Based on the numbers on Local 160's website, the unit had a 78% voting turnout.

Members of the Local 668 at the Saginaw Metal Casting Operations passed the contract. Seventy-three percent of skilled-trades members and 75% of production members approved the deal, according to the local's Facebook page.

Voting began Saturday, and a simple majority is needed to ratify the contract. The UAW wants local unions representing employees across 55 GM facilities in 19 states to submit their ratification vote totals by 4 p.m. Friday. Education sessions and voting times are set by the union's local units. Official results won't be known until votes from every local are in and calculated. 

The new four-year deal with GM promises permanent jobs for temporary employees and the elimination of a $12,000 cap on profit sharing. It also promises an $11,000 bonus if members ratify the contract, which would effectively more than offset the financial losses members took in the strike. Temporary workers would receive a bonus of $4,500 upon ratification.

The proposed contract would give 3% base-wage increases in the second and fourth years of the contract and would pay 4% lump-sum bonuses in the first and third years. It also allows GM to close three plants: Baltimore Operations in Maryland, Lordstown Assembly in northeast Ohio and Warren Transmission in southeast Michigan.

On Monday, the UAW obtained a third tentative agreement in less than a week with several companies, even as the union's strike against GM extends into a sixth week.

The UAW reached a tentative agreement with General Dynamics Corp., a top U.S. defense contractor. The Virginia-based company has 2,000 UAW members at manufacturing plants in Sterling Heights; Lima, Ohio; and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

It comes less than a week after the UAW sent a tentative agreement with GM to more than 48,000 employees striking the Detroit automaker. Now in its 36th day, the walkout is the longest national strike against GM since 1970. UAW leaders voted to keep members on the picket lines while they review details and vote on the proposed contract.

Bill Jackson, of St. Louis, gives a thumbs up to drivers that wave or honk as United Auto Workers outside the GMÂ Wentzville Assembly Center in Wentzville, Mo., Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019.

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Meanwhile, Aramark Corp. janitors also are reviewing details of a tentative agreement. The UAW's 850 members employed by Aramark Corp., which provides maintenance at five GM facilities — Hamtramck, Warren, Flint, Grand Blanc and Parma, Ohio — have been on strike since Sept. 15. The union reached a proposed tentative agreement with Aramark on Thursday, but Aramark employees will not cross the UAW-GM picket lines to go back to work.

More than 3,600 UAW members employed by Mack Trucks Inc. remain on strike over issues including wage increases, job security, wage progression and health and safety. Bargaining is expected to restart Monday. Mack Truck has plants in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Middletown, Pennsylvania; Hagerstown, Maryland; Baltimore, Maryland; and Jacksonville, Florida.

Twitter: @bykaleahall