United Auto Workers members have ratified a four-year agreement with General Motors Co, (NYSE: GM) and ended their strike. The final approval of the new labor contract brings to an end the union’s 40-day strike. The contract was supported by 57 percent of members who voted, according to final results from the union.
According to reports, the contract includes annual lump-sum bonuses or raises and $11,000 ratification bonuses for UAW members. GM also agreed to invest $7.7 billion in current plants, add thousands of new jobs and preserve the union members’ health insurance plan.. In return, the union agreed to not block the company’s plans to close three U.S. plants and a parts distribution center.
The strike was the longest national walkout for the union against any Detroit automaker since the 1970s. UAW Vice President Terry Dittes thanked the union’s GM members for their support and sacrifice during the strike. In a statement, Dittes said, “We are all so incredibly proud of UAW-GM members who captured the hearts and minds of a nation. Their sacrifice and courageous stand addressed the two-tier wages structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working class Americans.
GM is wasting no time in recouping lost production from the work stoppage. It has already called for work to resume at the plants affected by the strike. The strike also caused widespread layoffs at auto suppliers and GM’s operations in Canada and Mexico. GM declined to say when its Mexico plants would be running again. Analysts have estimated that the strike cost GM more than $1 billion.
The union will now turn its attention to negotiating new labor contracts with Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Both companies had agreed to contract extensions so the union could concentrate on talks with GM. It is believed that the GM deal will be used as a template for negotiations with the other Detroit automakers.