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GM Strike is Nearly Over


After well over a month, the GM strike is nearing its end, at least it seems. It seems that the UAW was able to win its financial demands, more or less, including protecting the amazing health insurance its members maintain, but were unable to win anything on opening the closed factories, with jobs shipped overseas.

The United Auto Workers’ proposed tentative deal with General Motors includes the closure of three U.S. plants, including a large assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, according to the union.

The plants, including two powertrain operations in Michigan and Maryland, had been earmarked in November to end production this year, but the Detroit automaker had to negotiate the closures as part of contract negotiations with the union. A parts distribution facility for GM in Fontana, California, also would close under the four-year deal.

A fourth plant in Detroit that was also slated for closure, as previously reported by CNBC, will be spared to build a new all-electric pickup for the automaker, if the deal is ratified. The assembly plant is still slated to end production of the Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala by January.

A timeframe for production of the pickup and the complete closures of the other U.S. facilities was not disclosed by the union, however the three plants were already idled by the automaker earlier this year. GM declined to comment.

Other details of the deal, according to a summary from the union, include 3% wage increases in the second and fourth years and 4% lump sum bonuses in the first and third years for eligible permanent manufacturing employees.

The deal also includes all workers achieving top pay of more than $32 an hour within the next four years, down from an eight-year period as part of a previous deal in 2015.

UAW members also would maintain their health insurance, which is considered “gold standard” and requires employees to cover roughly 3% of the total costs, according to one person familiar with the talks.

There’s a verbal agreement by GM to put some electric battery production in the iconic Lordstown plant, but it’s not in the deal so who knows. In the end, it’s probably about all the union could have hoped for, but it also doesn’t do anything to turn around the trajectory of industrial production in the United States. That was too much to ask for, no doubt, but one could always hope.

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