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Strike ends: UAW ratifies contract

ROANOKE, Ind. (WPTA21) – A majority of workers have ratified a proposed contract, ending the UAW strike against General Motors.

Union members voted 57.2% in favor of a new contract with the company, bringing an immediate end to a contentious 40-day strike.

“General Motors members have spoken,” said Terry Dittes, UAW Vice President and Director of the UAW-GM Department. “We are all so incredibly proud of UAW-GM members who captured the hearts and minds of a nation. Their sacrifice and courageous stand addressed the two-tier wages structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working class Americans.”

While the decision was clear on a wider scale, it was less so locally, where workers at the Fort Wayne Assembly were nearly split.

Earlier in the day, members of Local 2209, based in Allen County, approved the contract by the narrowest of margins — 50.8 percent in favor; 49.1 percent opposed.

A majority of Local 2209 production workers actually voted against the deal, but strong support by skilled trade workers and others gave the “yes” vote the eventual edge.

RELATED: Local 2209 UAW narrowly accepts new contract, national vote totals expected Friday evening

In recent days, vote results have trickled in from union locals across the country.

Striking workers at the General Motors factory with the most employees on Friday handily agreed to the contract. Production workers at GM’s SUV plant in Arlington, Texas, voted 78% in favor, while skilled trades voted 60% for the contract.

Arlington is the United Auto Workers union’s largest GM local, representing more than 5,000 people.

Elsewhere, Local 598 in Flint, Mich., voted 61 percent to 39 percent in favor. Local 1097 in Rochester, NY, overwhelmingly supported the deal, with 83 percent of members approving.

Fort Wayne workers are being informed that voluntary weekend overtime shifts are available, as the plant ramps back up.

Regular production will resume with the third shift on Monday.

The new four-year contract includes a mix of wage increases and annual lump-sum payments, as well as an $11,000 signing bonus. But it also allows GM to close three U.S. factories that made slow-selling cars and transmissions.

“We delivered a contract that recognizes our employees for the important contributions they make to the overall success of the company, with a strong wage and benefit package and additional investment and job growth in our U.S. operations,” said Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO. “GM is proud to provide good-paying jobs to tens of thousands of employees in America and to grow our substantial investment in the U.S. As one team, we can move forward and stay focused on our priorities of safety and building high-quality cars, trucks and crossovers for our customers.”

The UAW GM National Council voted last week to accept the tentative agreement with General Motors, setting up the vote by affected Locals.

Friday’s announcement concludes that approval process. A simple majority was needed to ratify the contract.

About 49,000 workers walked off their jobs Sept. 16, halting production at more than 30 U.S. factories and hampering it in Mexico and Canada due to parts shortages. Analysts estimate the strike cost GM more than $2 billion.

The UAW said it will announce the next pattern bargaining company, FCA or Ford, shortly.

 

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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