After 40 days of no work at General Motors plants across the country, employees are finally returning to work this week following a busy weekend during which United Auto Workers spokespeople did all they could to ratify a four-year labor pact that includes significant wage gains and bonuses.
With a contract that was approved by 57.2%, each employee will now receive an economic package of an $11,000 per member signing bonus, added performance bonuses, two annual raises and two 4% lump sum payments. This contract also brings workers hired after 2007 up to the same wage as older workers in four years, and keeps worker health benefits at the lowest premiums possible.
“General Motors members have spoken,” Terry Dittes, vice president of the union’s UAW-GM Department, said in a statement. “We are 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.”
Following the longest strike against GM for decades, UAW officials now say that they will focus negotiations on employees of Ford Motor Co. UAW negotiators have reported some progress in talks with both Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, though they had to wait until GM was finished before discussing most major economic issues because the union aims to use the first deal it reaches as the framework for the other two.
Although officials at Ford say that they look forward to reaching a fair agreement with their unionized employees, it will be interesting to see if there is another battle on the horizon.
Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for the latest on this developing story.