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September 28, 2011 Autos Insider | GM, UAW approve 4-year contract | The Detroit News

GM, UAW approve 4-year contract

General Motors Co. rank-and-file approved the automaker's proposed four-year contract with the United Auto Workers by a two-to-one majority, the union said Wednesday.

In the final tally, 65 percent of production workers and 63 percent of skilled trade workers voted in favor of the deal, ratifying a tentative agreement struck two weeks ago by GM and UAW bargainers. The new contract becomes effective immediately.

"The UAW and GM entered into this set of bargaining as America struggles with record levels of unemployment and an economy that shows little sign of improvement," said UAW President Bob King in a statement released Wednesday morning.

In all, 48,500 workers from 81 locals got a chance to vote on the contract, which along with providing new jobs and more work for UAW members, boosts the entry level pay by about $3 an hour, offers $75,000 buyouts for skilled trade workers, and includes a $5,000 signing bonus - to be paid out Oct. 14. Workers also will get a $1,000 "inflation protection" lump sum for the next four years of the agreement.

GM also plans to reopen its idled assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., where about 250 workers are on layoff, to build two midsize cars. Other plants will also get new work, including an assembly plant Wentzville, Mo., where GM will build its next-generation of midsize pickup trucks, and powertrain facilities in Warren and Romulus.

In all, GM will save or create 6,400 new jobs as part of the agreement and bring back work to the U.S. previously destined for Mexico.

Among those approving the deal were some of the UAW's largest locals representing assembly plants in Fort Wayne, Ind., Lordstown, Ohio, and Fairfax, Kan.

Only three locals are known to have opposed the pact: Lansing Delta Township, Indianapolis Stamping and Willow Run Distribution Center.

The UAW didn't provide a break down of results by individual locals, although many provide those numbers separately.

In 2007, the last time GM workers went to the polls for a new contract, the membership approved the deal by 61 percent.

Workers at GM's Lordstown Assembly plant, who voted Tuesday, support the agreement with 74 percent of production workers and 69 percent of skilled trade in favor.

At Detroit-Hamtramck, workers ratified the contract with 67 percent in favor. The vote was closer at GM's assembly plant in Orion Township, where it was supported by 56 percent of production workers, and 55 percent of skilled trade.

GM CEO Dan Akerson is holding a conference call with Wall Street analysts at 2 p.m. Wednesday to go over the deal's highlights.

At Ford Motor Co., negotiators continue to plug away at a new agreement but have yet to hit the around-the-clock bargaining sessions that typically signify a deal is close.

Talks at Chrysler Group LLC continue to lag with CEO Sergio Marchionne out of the country and UAW President Bob King at Ford.
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