UAW has GM offer ready for a vote

Sept. 17, 2011 at 8:57 AM
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DETROIT, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The United Auto Workers said it reached a four-year contract agreement with General Motors Co. that will be put to a vote among union leaders next week.

The New York Times reported Saturday that the deal could be voted on by union leadership Tuesday. If it passes, it will be sent to rank and file union members for a vote seven to 10 days later.

The tentative deal adds "significant improvements to healthcare benefits," the UAW said.

In a statement, the UAW said it had defended members against proposed cuts in compensation. The labor group said, "The UAW was able to convince GM that far greater success could be achieved working together than by cutting pensions or healthcare."

The union did not make the tentative contract public, but said it includes a better deal on profit-sharing that may or may not include a hiring bonus for new workers to make up for the concession agreed to four years ago of having new workers paid at substantially lower hourly wages than established workers.

GM vice president for labor relations Cathy Clegg said in a statement, "We worked hard for a contract that recognizes the realities of today's marketplace, enabling G.M. to continue to invest in U.S. manufacturing and provide good jobs to thousands of Americans."

With GM posting a profit of $4.7 billion 2010, hourly workers were given bonus paychecks averaging $4,400 this year.

With a new emphasis on profit-sharing as a method of rewarding workers when the company does well, the contract "will define competitiveness for Detroit," said Harley Shaiken, a professor of labor relations at the University of California, Berkeley.

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