GM and UAW reach tentative deal to end strike

Trump has weighed in on month-long strike by UAW, whose membership is concentrated in states key to 2020 election.

UAW tentative deal
The tentative deal is subject to approval by the union's national GM council during its meeting on Thursday - and then must still be ratified by the wider membership [File: Bryan Woolston/Reuters]

General Motors Co and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union have reached a tentative deal for a new four-year labour deal, moving the sides closer to ending the month-long strike by about 48,000 hourly workers that had drawn the attention of United States President Donald Trump and potential Democratic rivals in the 2020 US presidential election.

The deal is subject to approval by the union’s national GM council during its meeting on Thursday and then must still be ratified by the wider membership, the UAW said in a statement. The strike continues at least until Thursday’s meeting.

If the council approves the deal, it would decide whether to end the strike at that point or continue until the wider membership votes.

“The number one priority of the national negotiation team has been to secure a strong and fair contract that our members deserve,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes, director of the union’s GM department, said in a statement. He said the union would not release details of the agreement until after the Thursday meeting.

GM officials did not have an immediate comment.

Shares of GM were up 2.5 percent at $37.18 late on Wednesday morning.

The strike began on September 16, with about 48,000 hourly workers of the UAW union at GM seeking higher pay, greater job security, protection of their healthcare benefits – and a bigger share of company profits. Other issues on the table included the fate of plants GM has indicated it may close, and the use of temporary workers.

The Center for Automotive Research in Michigan has estimated that the strike’s weekly costs to GM and the UAW strike fund are $450m and $12m, respectively.

President Trump and many legislators have weighed in on the talks between the UAW and GM, urging the auto giant to build more vehicles in the US and shift work away from Mexico.

The UAW’s membership is largely in the Midwest, in states that could be critical to both sides in the 2020 presidential election.

Source: Reuters