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UAW-GM strike: Workers feel anxious, excitement over tentative agreement

DETROIT – United Auto Workers have been walking the picket line for the longest time since the '70s, so they're understandably anxious to know what's in the tentative agreement.

Officials from UAW and GM announced the agreement Wednesday31 days into the national workers' strike.

Workers who are more senior said they knew the strike was going to be long, but everybody is hopeful what negotiators come up with is something they can be excited about.

Workers want to know about raises, whether the process has been streamlined for newer and temporary workers and whether they get to keep the gold star health care coverage without any increases.

You can watch Mara MacDonald's full story in the video posted above.

UAW Vice President Terry Dittes said officials will not yet reveal the details of the proposed agreement. He is the director of the UAW GM Department.

The strike will continue until the UAW GM National Council votes to approve the proposed tentative agreement, according to officials.

MOREA timeline of events in the UAW-GM strike

A meeting will be held Oct. 17, and council members will determine whether they want to continue the strike or approve the agreement.

Ultimately, agreement will not be ratified until UAW-GM membership across the United States votes to approve it, officials said.

UAW, GM officials weigh in

"The No. 1 priority of the national negotiation team has been to secure a strong and fair contract that our members deserve," Dittes said. "Out of respect for our members, we will refrain from commenting on the details until the UAW GM leaders gather together and receive all details.

"We are extremely grateful to the thousands of Americans who donated goods and helped our striking workers and their families. As we await the Council's decision, please know that the outpouring of community and national support will be etched in the memories of all of us at the UAW for years to come."

"The dignity, grace and solidarity demonstrated by our members during the last few weeks are prime examples of what this union is all about: supporting one another in the good and bad times and never giving up," UAW President Gary Jones said. "Our more than 48,000 members standing their ground have captured the hearts and minds of people across this country. I could not be prouder of our brothers and sisters, our National Negotiators and the National Council as they continue to fight one day longer to secure the best deal for our members."

MOREWhat UAW officials said about proposed tentative agreement with GM

GM releases statement

"We can confirm the UAW's statement regarding a proposed tentative agreement," GM spokesman Dan Flores said. "Additional details will be provided at the appropriate time."

More on the strike

Here's a look at what was on the negotiation table:

  • The current time to progress to top pay with full-time, full benefits status is eight years. The UAW wants that knocked down to four years.
  • The union also wants temporary workers to be able to qualify for progression.
  • Workers will get 3 percent raises and lump sum bonuses in two of four years.
  • Workers will get enhanced health care at no extra cost.

Former GM negotiator Dr. Arthur Schwartz said he has a theory for why reaching an agreement took so long.

"It appears that the leaders right now are not confident that they'll be able to sell an agreement to the membership and get it ratified," he said.

UAW Mack Truck member strike 

The United Automobile Workers Mack Truck members went on strike at 11:59 p.m. Saturday for better pay, benefits and job protections.  

According to the union, 3,600 Mack Truck workers in three states -- Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania -- are on strike. Read more here: UAW Mack Truck members in three states on strike

On Saturday, the union announced striking GM workers will get an additional $25 a week and can now work part-time during the strike.

The UAW International Executive Board voted Saturday to increase the strike pay to $275, effective Sunday. The strike pay was set to increase Jan. 1, 2020.

The national strike against GM began on Sept. 15 and, by the next day, nearly 50,000 union members had stopped reporting to work. The strike has resulted in the shutting down of 33 manufacturing plants and 22 part distribution facilities nationwide.


More UAW-GM strike coverage:


About the Authors:

Kayla Clarke

Kayla is a web producer with an English degree from Michigan State University. Before joining the ClickOnDetroit team in 2018, she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.