UAW members at General Motors ratify a new contract with the automaker by an unofficial margin of 55%-45%.
Ratification of the union’s tentative agreement with Stellantis also is assured after the latest batch of votes from plants in Detroit were added to the totals on the UAW’s vote tracker. And the UAW’s tentative contract with Ford also is heading for ratification by a relatively comfortable margin of 65%-35%, according to the union’s vote tracker.
The UAW declined official comment on the ratification votes at the three automakers.
The results at GM were closer than expected since UAW officials described it as the richest contract signed by the union in more than 20 years. It includes a 25% raise over the 4½-year life of the contract and a restored cost-of-living allowance.
It also includes a shorter progression to the top pay level and eliminates the tiered wage system adopted when GM sought concessions from the union during the Great Recession which saw the automaker briefly enter bankruptcy.
A tentative agreement between GM and the UAW was reached Oct. 30, ending a 45-day “stand-up strike” that saw union members walk off the job at GM, Ford and Stellantis plants producing some of the automakers’ most profitable products.
Workers at GM parts warehouses and a new battery plant in Lordstown, OH, were critical to approval of the contract. Those workers all had been making between $20 and $26 per hour while regular production workers were being paid $32 per hour.
Yes votes from new GM workers making less than $32 per hour helped assure ratification as union members from parts plants in Grand Rapids, MI, and Lockport, and Rochester, NY, for the new contract. Workers in the battery-pack unit in Brownstown Township, MI, and the Ultium battery plant near Warren, OH, also voted overwhelmingly for the pact.
Besides getting a bump in pay, all lower-tier GM workers will be getting an 11% raise in the first year of the contract.
However, GM production workers at the top of pay scale were less enthusiastic about the new contract, which UAW President Shawn Fain admits is tilted in favor of younger employees working as “temps” or climbing a long progression to top pay.
Vote results show the contract losing by wide margins at assembly plants in Fort Wayne, IN, and Spring Hill, TN, underscoring disappointment among older workers looking for a larger raise. UAW officials went into the negotiations vowing to win 40% pay hikes they said would match top executives’ compensation in recent years.
The split also was evident in Pontiac, MI, where members of UAW Local 653 working at a GM Customer Care and Aftersales facility voted 75%-25% percent to approve the contract, while Local 653 members employed at the GM stamping plant across the street rejected the contract by a similar margin.
At Stellantis, vote results tracked by the UAW indicated 66.3% percent of the union’s members approved the tentative pact, which raises the top wage to $42 per hour by the end of its 4½ years. Only votes from small units remain uncounted.
Ratification at Stellantis was assured when votes of generally younger union members at two assembly plants in Detroit, Jefferson North and Mack Avenue, showed overwhelming approval. Significant numbers of workers at both plants are “temps” or “in progression,” meaning they receive less than the top wage and are now in line for a big bump in pay.