The UAW said 65 percent of production workers and 63 percent of skilled trade workers approved the contract, the first labor contract ushered in by new UAW President Bob King, who took over from former President Ron Gettelfinger in June 2010.
It is also the first contract with a major automobile company since GM and Chrysler declared bankruptcies in 2009, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The UAW had already made important concessions to automakers, as the industry had been in a prolonged slump before the housing market turned in 2007, leading to a near-global recession.
The contract ratified Wednesday calls for the creation of 6,400 union jobs, including shifting some work from Mexico to the United States. It also narrows the pay gap between newly hired workers and established workers, with King arguing all workers at automobile factories should be paid wages that allow for middle-class lifestyles.
New hires will be given higher wages throughout the four-year deal, but established workers will not be given a raise in basic pay. The new contract, however, gives $5,000 in bonus pay to 48,500 GM workers this year and sets up workers for a minimum $1,000 annual bonus and a more generous profit-sharing plan than the old contract, the Times said.
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