Oct. 16 (UPI) -- After five weeks of a sustained labor walkout involving nearly 50,000 workers, the United Automobile Workers union said Wednesday it's reached a tentative agreement with General Motors that it considers "strong and fair."
UAW said in a statement the deal includes "major gains" for more than 48,000 workers who have been away from their jobs since Sept. 16. The union said its top negotiators recommended that its council accept the proposed agreement.
"The number one priority of the national negotiation team has been to secure a strong and fair contract that our members deserve," said UAW GM Vice President Terry Dittes.
"We are extremely grateful to the thousands of Americans who donated goods and helped our striking workers and their families."
UAW declined to detail provisions of the deal, saying they have not yet been approved by all necessary union members.
GM CEO Mary Barra and President Mark Reuss joined negotiators at the bargaining table for the first time on Tuesday.
The union said its national council will meet early Thursday and vote on the proposed deal. Ratification by all UAW workers is expected to take a couple weeks.
The federal government had threatened to intervene in the labor dispute if it wasn't resolved soon. The strike is the first between UAW and GM since 2007. Experts project the conflict has cost the automaker more than $1 billion in lost productivity, striking workers a combined $835 million in pay and $18 million in tax revenues for the state of Michigan.
The union had sought higher wages, healthcare benefits and a path to employment for temporary workers.