Rod Meloni: It's a Tentative Agreement
Once again UAW negotiators walked right up to the deadline and pulled the fat out of the fire, so to speak.
The same thing happened a couple of weeks ago with Fiat-Chrysler. They announced they'd reached a new tentative agreement just before the midnight strike deadline. That agreement eventually was passed by a large margin by the UAW Fiat-Chrysler rank and file. Expect the same here.
It becoming clear the union wants to get this process over with as quickly and as lucratively as possible. The UAW had long since finished its negotiations for the now-expiring national contract with all three companies by this time in October four years ago.
While we haven't seen the GM deal, there is a lot of crowing about gains made and the healthy financial package negotiators were able to extract.
Here is a little bit of the reaction that came from press releases that hit my email box at 11:56pm, just as we were looking to go live from the UAW Local 909 Union Hall in Warren, Michigan last night.
UAW President Dennis Williams said: "We believe that this agreement will present stable long-term significant wage gains and job security commitments to UAW members now and in the future, we look forward to presenting the details of these gains to local union leaders and the membership."
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada called the agreement transformative" "The significant gains in this agreement are structured in a way that will provide certainty to our members and create a clear path for all GM employees now and in the future. The agreement not only rewards UAW-GM members for their accomplishments, but it protects them with significant job security commitments."
General Motors, for its part, is equally pleased. Cathy Clegg, the Vice President of GM North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations, said: "The new UAW-GM national agreement is good for employees and the business, working with our UAW partners we developed constructive solutions that benefit employees and provide flexibility for the company to respond to the needs of the marketplace."
So here's what comes next. The UAW-GM National Leadership Council jets into town from across the country on Wednesday where it will hear the details of the contract. If it is happy with the deal, and we can expect that it will be, then it votes for the contract and it is then sent along to the UAW-GM rank and file.
Over the next few days and even next weekend the Union will carefully explain the contract's details and then allow the locals to conduct votes sometime next week. Again, expect this to pass without the fanfare and frustration that accompanied the Fiat Chrysler initial tentative agreement.
The reason for that is the pattern has been set. Granted each of the traditional domestic three contracts will have their unique corners, the FCA Chrysler contract will set the tone and should help second tier workers considerable.
Also, considering GM is an infinitely healthier company financially, the membership will more than likely see a lucrative deal on the table and take it.
You may wonder what happens with Ford now that General Motors has a tentative agreement. Well, it will have to wait in the wings for now for a bit while this process to get into gear. That does not mean Ford and the UAW aren't in contact, they are. The only real question left at this point is whether the UAW will feel the need, as it has in these first two negotiations, to pull the trigger on a strike deadline… not a strike.
And in case anyone is wondering, there is likely no coincidence that the GM and UAW-Chrysler deals were cut at 11:43am before the deadline. This is great theater for the UAW to make it look as if they pushed the companies to the limit and pulled the fat out of the fire just seconds before that frightful deadline.
Another set of negotiations, another tentative agreement, and the cars and trucks will continue uninterrupted off of the GM assembly lines. This officially and finally draws to a close the ever so sad chapter of the auto bankruptcies.
The workers who sacrificed so much during the downturn now get their payday.
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