UAW Workers Barely Pass New Contract With Major Automaker After Contentious Vote

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Will Kessler Contributor
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The United Auto Workers (UAW) approved a contract deal with General Motors by slim margins on Thursday, ending the negotiations that culminated in a six-week strike, according to results from the union’s vote tracker.

Hourly UAW employees narrowly approved a tentative contract at GM, with 54.74% voting to approve while 45.26% voted against, according to preliminary results from the union’s vote tracker. The new deal enshrines a contract for the next nearly five years, following the expiration of the previous one on Sept. 14, which eventually led to walk-outs at over 40 different facilities between GM and other automakers, Ford and Stellantis, who were undergoing negotiations at the same time. (RELATED: Foreign Automakers Post Big Profits As Big Three Suffer From Strike)

“We need to take advantage of the moment,” Tony Totty, local UAW president at the Toeldo powertrain plant, told The Associated Press. “Who knows what the next environment will be for national agreements. The company never has a problem telling us we need to take concessions in bad economic times. Why should we not get the best economic agreement in good economic times?”

The contract’s approval was uncertain on Wednesday as the votes began to be reported with big facilities like GM’s plant in Springville, Tennessee, with its 2,314 hourly employees voting 67.5% against the deal, and the Fort Wayne Assembly Plant in Indiana, which had 60.73% of its 3,308 employees vote no, according to the vote results. The vote in total had 35,957 votes cast, with the contract being approved by a margin of only 3,409 votes.

Ford and Stellantis, other major automakers with UAW workforces, are also in the process of approving a similar contract as GM, but the preliminary tallies of their votes are much less contentious, meaning that they are likely to pass, according to CNBC.

Union workers will receive a 25% increase in wages in the deal with GM over the course of their contract, a restoration of cost-of-living adjustment, the elimination of wage tiers, the inclusion of electric vehicle and battery plant workers in the master contract and more. The increase in labor costs puts GM at a disadvantage with other non-unionized labor forces, which are able to pay their workers significantly less and provide fewer benefits, lowering total operating costs.

UAW members at Mack Trucks had previously voted down a tentative deal in October, launching an immediate strike for the manufacturer’s 4,000 UAW employees.

The UAW and GM did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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